Wildcats escape Patriots scare
Cassville rallies in second half for 21-7 Homecoming win
Cassville escaped a scare at Homecoming on Friday, but the Wildcats rallied in the second half to come away with a 21-7 win over an inspired East Newton team.
The first half favored East Newton, as the Wildcats (4-1) struggled to stop the Patriots at key points defensively and equally struggled to move the ball offensively.
East Newton converted two third downs, a third-and-7 and a third-and-5 before connecting a 15-yard crossing route into paydirt.
The Wildcats’ DJ White returned the ensuing kickoff to near midfield, and a horse collar penalty took the ball to the Patriots’ 39-yard line. However, Cassville settled for a 30-yard field goal try, which missed wide right.
East Newton, on its second drive, converted another third down, but on the next series, a pass breakup by Kade Howard gave Cassville the ball on downs.
The Wildcats were forced to punt and the Patriots went on another extended drive, hitting a pass for 18 yards on fourth-and-6 to get in the red zone.
Cassville’s defense held strong again, with Killian Barbee picking off a pass at the 5. The Wildcats drove to midfield but had to punt again, allowing East Newton to kneel out the final seconds of the first half.
Cassville came out of the locker room with conviction in the second half. The Wildcats recovered a low kickoff at their own 24-yard line, and a trio of Bowen Preddy first downs, two for double-digit gains, set up Zach Coenen for a 1-yard score.
The Patriots were able to convert a fourth-and-short on their next drive, but then punted. Deven Bates then took Cassville into the lead with a 72-yard touchdown run after faking the handoff and breaking left, then sidestepping a defender about 40 yards out to finish the jaunt.
Later in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats forced a turnover on downs at East Newton’s 33-yard line. After a penalty, a 22-yard run from White led to a 21-yard touchdown run from Coenen.
Carson Jacobson picked off a Patriot pass with 2:06 to play, allowing Cassville to secure the win.
The Wildcats hit the road for the final time in the regular season Friday, heading to McDonald County. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.