Hitting the reset button

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Cassville’s Deven Bates airs out a ball during Friday’s 28-21 loss to Seneca. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville with all eyes on upstart Patriots

Last week’s loss is nothing that Cassville Head Coach Lance Parnell, nor his team, wants to dwell upon.

The Wildcats were stunned, 28-21, by the Indians in a game where Parnell said Seneca did not expose weak areas of his team — they just dominated the line of scrimmage.

“They owned the line on both sides of the ball,” Parnell said. “In 150 years of football history, they have been a team that dominates the line of scrimmage and wins the majority of the time.”

Parnell’s message to the team Monday was simple — the past is the past.

“We can’t change what happened Friday night,” he said. “We have five tough games left, and we have to be forward-focused.”

That path begins with a much-improved East Newton squad for homecoming.

The Patriots roll into town with a familiar face on their sidelines, as former Cassville assistant coach Kyle Wood leads a 1-3 team that could easily be 4-0.

“That’s not smoke,” Parnell said. “They could be undefeated coming here. Coach Wood has that team playing with a high amount of confidence, and they are aggressive on defense and executing on offense.”

To that point, the Patriots have scored 86 points in their first four games this season. In their previous 20 games, they managed just 99 points.

Parnell said anyone can see the aggressive nature on film, and Wood is using the 3-3-5 stack defense that he learned while coaching at Monett that features near-constant blitzing on each play.

East Newton fell 23-16 in week one to Hollister, 18-13 to Aurora, 25-22 to McDonald County and finally defeated Nevada, 35-8, to earn its fist victory in the last 25 games.

“They have some good skill kids,” Parnell said. “They have moved the ball well.”

Parnell said Cassville will focus on improving this week and keeping their eyes forward.

“We aren’t looking past anyone,” Parnell said. “We have a Big 8 opponent this Friday and we are looking to go 1-0 this week.”

Keys for Cassville

• Win the line of scrimmage

Cassville’s line will be challenged in practice this week. If the Wildcats want a happy Homecoming, it begins and ends with their line play.

• Finish

Cassville must take the game one play at a time. East Newton is improved this year, and plays still have to be made.

• Turnovers

Ball security is alway priority No. 1. Cassville must hang onto the ball and create a few turnovers for themselves.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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