‘Cats control district destiny

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cassville red hot entering final regular season game

The regular season is down to its final game for the Cassville football team, as the Wildcats invade Mt. Vernon on Friday.

Entering the game 5-3 overall and 3-3 in the Big 8 Conference, Cassville has a lot riding on the game against the Moutaineers (5-3, 3-3).

With a win, Cassville will take the No. 2 district seed, meaning the possibility of two home district playoff games.

With a loss, the Wildcats limp into Week 10 at home against an Aurora team that wants another crack at the Wildcats after Friday’s 34-13 win over the Houn’ Dawgs.

Cassville rode consistent play in the victory, and the Wildcats hope they can continue that play on Friday against the Mountaineers.

“I thought we played well and fought hard against Aurora,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “Our defense made two goal line stands and stopped Aurora inside the 20 on another drive. That is the difference in the game.”

Parnell praised his team and said the second half was the best he had seen his line play all season.

“Really all games, but especially in the second half,” Parnell said. “I think we figured some things out and were able to get some chunk yardage.”

With his team starting to click at the right time, the Wildcats coach knows they face a dangerous foe in Mt. Vernon.

“They are a dang good football team,” Parnell said. “[Andrew] Montemayor is a great athlete that makes plays. Their quarterback has a quick release, and they can run the ball with [Sammy] Robinson. I can tell you there will be nothing easy about Friday night.”

The Mountaineers enter the game with back-to-back losses to Aurora and Lamar and have just scored 20 points in the last eight quarters while giving up 81.

Still they are capable of putting up points, having scored 35, 43 and 54 in wins against Reeds Spring, McDonald County and East Newton.

“I say it every week, the team that can run the ball has the best chance to win,” Parnell said. “I think that will be the key on Friday. The team that can run the ball has the best chance to win.”

Parnell said the Wildcats have essentially been in playoff mode the last two weeks, needing to obtain victories to move up the district seeding.

“We went into the Seneca game with a shot at the No. 1 seed and we lost that one,” Parnell said. “We came back in the Aurora game with a chance to move up and play for a No. 2 seed, and that is where we find ourselves. We control where we go and who we face.”

Keys for the Wildcats

• Big boys’ time to shine

Mt. Vernon has battled injuries on both the offensive and defensive lines. The Wildcats need to establish themselves as the dominant force up front and take control of the game early.

• Jam the line

Look for Cassville to jam the line on defense and force the Mountaineers to the air. Mt. Vernon’s spread attack is built on short quick passes, but pressure does wonders to help disrupt that timing.

• Turn the corner

This season, as far as productivity, has been up and down for the Wildcats. They need to show that they can put four quarters together two times in a row. If they do that, they get the kind of consistency that leads to rocketed growth.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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