Wildcats ready to brawl

Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Cassville's DJ White turns up field en route to a 50yard touchdown catch Friday against Springfield Catholic. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville to put perfect record on the line Friday

The challenge was not to just one or two players, but to the entire Cassville defense before the start of Friday’s game against Springfield Catholic.

Cassville Head Coach Lance Parnell challenged his players to be the aggressors, to step up and show the fans the toughness that they had demonstrated to him in practice.

When the final horn sounded, Cassville had run to a 34-7 victory over the Fightin’ Irish and held one of the best players in southwest Missouri to a mere 106 yards.

“I still consider Tyson [Riley] to be one of the best backs,” Parnell said. “He is a very good player, but our defense was able to stop him. I challenged them, and they stepped up.”

The Wildcats (2-0) continued to show growth from Week 1 to Week 2.

“Our defense played their assignments well and cleaned up some mistakes that we made against Aurora the first week of the season,” Parnell said. “Offensively, we had some penalties that put us behind the chains, but we were able to overcome those.”

Parnell singled out Anthony Tolbert and Shannon Haney for their play during the win.

“To me, Anthony stood out at the outside linebacker position,” he said. “He covered a lot of ground for us. Shannon, both running and throwing the ball, was very efficient. I think the biggest factor for him is playing within himself and not trying to do too much. At times, I thought he pressed in Week 1, but he looked much more relaxed Friday.”

As the Wildcats turn their collective attention to Friday’s Barry County Brawl with Monett, Parnell made one thing crystal clear.

“Records do not matter in the game,” he said. “Both teams will be fired up on Friday.”

Cassville coaches were quick to pick up on one key detail in Monett’s game – from Week 1 to Week 2, the Cubs got better.

“You can see it on the film,” Parnell said. “They were more physical on the line. Their defense was aggressive. Coach [Derrek] Uhl does a good job of preparing his kids to play.”

The Cubs switched to an option-based attack during the summer, and they have only had essentially four weeks to work on the ins and outs.

Still, the Wildcats do not want to see the Cubs take the next stage of development against them on Friday.

Keys for Cassville

• Be big, win big

Cassville has the advantage on Friday in terms of beef on the offensive and defensive lines. If the Wildcats utilize this advantage, it will make things tough on Cubs. Still, the Wildcats must dominate for four quarters because Monett will not quit.

• Throwing it ahead

Look for the Cubs to focus on the Cassville ground game. Monett struggled at times with the Marshfield passing attack, but there are three things that can happen on a pass, and two of them work in the defense’s favor. When facing Cassville, Monett would rather have the Wildcats beat them in the air. Cassville has speed at the receiver position, which should make it a fun battle to watch.

• Lead from the front

One advantage for Cassville could be scoring first. That puts the onus on Monett to keep pace and could cause a young offense to be pressured into mistakes. The Wildcats could set the tone early if they win the toss and take the ball. Although that goes against Parnell’s old ball logic, this is a rivalry game, and you do not want your rival to be hanging around at the end.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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