Tigers take revenge in close contest
‘Little things’ hurt Cats in 14-10 loss to Lamar
A game marked by big plays and hard hits came down to the little things, according to the coach and players, as Cassville dropped its final regular-season contest of the year to Lamar on Friday, 14-10.
“[The difference in the game was the] little things,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “We had a turnover late and did not tackle well at times. These are two really good football teams, and unfortunately, somebody has got to lose in a game like this, and we happened to come up on the short end of the stick.”
Deven Bates, Cassville quarterback, agreed.
“It came down to little things,” he said. “Lamar did little things wrong but we made the little mistakes more often.”
Lamar outgained Cassville (7-2) on the ground 407 yards to 148, with many of those yards coming on sweep or reverse plays off the right tackle.
“They were doing a good job pinning us on the edge, and we needed to be more physical,” Parnell said. “Getting off blocks was the biggest thing. It’s always physical when we play Lamar. They are going to run right at you and really challenge you up front, and that was no different [Friday].”
Bates said the physicality is always a bear to deal with when playing the Tigers.
“You love it, but you hate it at the same time,” he said. “It’s definitely a battle.
These Lamar guys play physical, play tough and they will hit you in the mouth, and that’s what they did. With stuff like that, when your number is called to run a play, you just have to answer it and do your job.”
Cassville started the game with a couple first downs, but the drive stalled and the Wildcats were forced to punt.
Lamar took the ball at its own 23 and looked to be heading to a three-and-out, but a well-timed reverse extended the drive, which ended with a 10-yard touchdown run.
Cassville was able to find an answer on its next drive, working through the air to paydirt. Bates hit DJ White for a 28-yard catch, and after a few yards gained by Jericho Farris on the ground, Bates found Bowen Preddy on a 33-yard touchdown reception.
Lamar continued to threaten in the opening half, but two missed field goals kept the Tigers at only 7 points.
Cassville, on the other hand, found a way in the final three minutes to drive to the 17 and allow Drake Reese to nail a 36-yard field goal with 5 seconds left before intermission for a 10-7 lead.
“Drake is a talented kid and it gives me great confidence that if we are in a situation we need to kick a field goal that he is going to be money, and he was again [Friday],” Parnell said.
“We have a ton of confidence in Drake, especially me,” Bates said. “We know he’s going to make a field goal whether my hold is good or not, so we all have all the confidence in the world in that kid.”
The 10-7 Cassville lead held until the start of the fourth quarter. Lamar struggled to gain yards and was forced to punt in the third quarter, but a Cassville fumble and Tigers recovery put the home team only 22 yards from the goal line.
Despite a holding call negating a run to the 1-yard line, Lamar pushed its way into the end zone on an 11-yard run to take the 14-10 lead.
Cassville then embarked on a long drive, gaining first down after first down and finding the red zone. However, a missed pass on fourth-and-short gave Lamar the ball on its own 12.
The Tigers were able to gain enough first downs to run down the final four-plus minutes off the clock and secure the win.
Farris led the rushing attack with 51 yards on 13 carries, and Bates was a step behind with 50 yards on 13 carries.
Bates went 5-for-12 through the air for 126 yards and the only Wildcats touchdown. Preddy pulled in three catches for 88 yards and a score, and White had two catches for 38 yards. Preddy also recovered a fumble in the game.
Defensively, Zach Coenen led tacklers with 8 unassisted. Farris and Andrew Prier each had 7 unassisted and 1 assisted, and Jacob Olbertz had 6 unassisted and 3 assisted.
Cassville secured the No. 2 district seed and will host Aurora in the first round of of the playoffs Friday. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Monett-Hollister matchup.