Wildcats beat Mt. Vernon, lock up No. 2 seed
Long drives, defense propel Cassville to win
MT. VERNON — Four long scoring drives and stout defense carried Cassville (6-3) to a 27-19 win over Mt. Vernon on the road Friday.
Cassville started the contest with a methodical, 75-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Shannon Haney capped the series with a 4-yard scuttle to paydirt.
The lead did not last long, as Mt. Vernon took the kickoff 90 yards and scored on a 7-yard run.
After possession changes, the Wildcats embarked on another strong drive, going 63 yards to score with a 13-yard rush by Haney.
After another Mt. Vernon score on a 3-yard run, Cassville’s offense rolled again. On its third 60-plus-yard drive, Haney recorded his third score on a 5-yard, fourth down run from the gate formation.
The Mountaineers equaled the touchdown with a 13-yard score on the ground, but an earlier missed point-after and a missed 2-point conversion kept Cassville up 21-19.
Mt. Vernon got the ball back with an interception. With 10 seconds left, a 37-yard field goal attempt into the wind clanked off the right goalpost to keep the margin at 2 at the break.
The Mountaineers’ kicking woes continued in the second half. After driving to the 5-yard line, a 22-yard attempt at 3 points flew wide to the right.
The rest of the third quarter and into the fourth became a position battle, as Cassville was forced into three straight punts from poor field position. The Wildcats’ defense, however, contained Mt. Vernon, forcing the Mountaineers into three straight punts right back.
This time, Cassville found its first-half legs. On a 60-yard drive, the Wildcats got to the 4-yard line and found 2 yards on fourth down to avoid a turnover. Two plays later, Anthony Tolbert scored with 1:57 left.
Mt. Vernon drove the ball to the Cassville 12-yard line, but a batted ball in the end zone by Ethan Hoppes and two more by Haney forced a turnover on downs and let Cassville kneel out the win.