‘Cats await Titan challenge

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Cassville quarterback Deven Bates throws a pass to DJ White during the Wildcats’ win on Saturday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville, Trinity to clash Saturday for state title berth

Two proud teams will clash on the gridiron in south Barry County, as Cassville (11-2) welcomes Trinity Catholic (9-3) to town for a Class 3 showdown Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats enter the game riding the surge of a 35-28 win over Blair Oaks, and the Titans rolled to a 26-0 decision over St. Charles Lutheran.

Jericho Farris dives toward a loose ball during quarterfinal action on Saturday. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

Trinity comes into the game the defending Class 3 state champion.

The season has not been as smooth of a ride as the team would have wanted. After dropping its first two games of the year before earning a win, the school parted ways with its head coach and tabbed Hazelwood West educator John Randle to take the team through the remainder of the season.

“First off, I thank God for the opportunity to come and guide this team,” Randle said. “I think these young men showed their mental strength and made their minds up to buy in to a new coach. You never know what your path in life may be, but God found a way to put us together, and we have focused on becoming a family and playing football.”

Randle has guided the Titans to 8-1 mark, with the lone blemish coming in the form of a 24-16 to St. Louis University.

“This team has great character traits,” Randle said. “We’ve been blessed with a lot of talent, and they have shown the ability to ride this roller coaster of a season. And, they have brought each other along. Sometimes, when players have talent, they don’t think about others. We are a selfless team.”

The Titans’ stats do not disagree with the unselfish culture that Randle has preached. Trinity has six backs with 100 or more yards rushing and four running backs that average more than 10 yards per carry. Additionally, nine backs have scored a touchdown this season, with seven recording two or more.

“They are a very fast team offensively,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “They are similar to what we faced in Blair Oaks, and they have talent all over the field.”

One of those players is Jalen St. John, a 6-3, 302-pound lineman who has committed to play at Mizzou.

“Jalen is one of our leaders, both on the field and off the field,” Randle said.

“One thing we teach is that you have to be a leader and an example off the field before you can be a leader on the field, and he’s that type of guy. You see him with our freshmen, helping them get better. He helps our team outside the field of play. He is a guy that wants to help everyone take a step forward.”

The Titans also have a budding star in freshman quarterback Chris Cotton, who has completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,346 yards and 16 touchdowns.

“He has stepped in and just been tremendous all season,” Randle said. “One thing I have learned is that you are never too old to learn, and you are never too young to teach, and I think that sums up this team. They are unselfish. We aren’t chasing individual stats, and that allows us to use the group’s talent as a whole.”

In Cassville, Randle sees a formidable foe.

“They are a disciplined ball club,” Randle said. “They play hard each play, and the defense is tenacious. They like to play at a high rate of speed and buckle down. Their offense is kind of tricky, and you have to find the ball.”

For the Wildcats, the focus Saturday will be rallying to the ball.

“We just can’t get one person to the ball,” Parnell said. “We need 11 guys flying to the ball. This team can do damage in space. On film, they just keep rotating speed into the lineup.”

Cassville will need to use its offense as a defensive weapon as well.

“We were big on third down at Blair Oaks, and were able to control the ball, especially in the fourth quarter,” Parnell said. “We need that same outcome on Saturday.”

Keys for Cassville

• Extend the drive

Cassville was devastating to the Falcons last week just by running the ball all game. The Wildcats attempted only three passes. They need that type of performance again if they want to reach the title.

• Turnovers

Cassville turned the ball over one time last week at Blair Oaks, as Deven Bates threw his first interception of the season. It turned out to be inconsequential, but the Wildcats cannot give the Titans extra possessions.

• Seal the edge

Blair Oaks got to the edge early against Cassville before the Wildcats solved the problem. If the Black and Gold want to go to Columbia, the need to make the stop while the backs are going east and west, not north and south.

Season stats

TrinityStat Cassville
414 Points428
127 Points allowed171
3,526Total yards4,318
2,091Rushing2,796
1,435Passing1,522
61.64Completion %59.1
12 Turnovers8
6 Interceptions1
6 Fumbles7
174.3 YPG Rushing215.1
119.6 YPG Passing 117.1
34.3 Net Punt Avg. 34.6

Team Leaders

Rushing

Cassville: Bowen Preddy, 137-977, 14 TDs; Zach Coenen, 127-813, 9 TDs; Deven Bates, 68-407, 8 TDs

Trinity: Thomas Mimes, 79-618, 9 TDs; Lake Wilson, 53-414, 4 TDs; James Frenchie, 40-237, 6 TDs

Passing

Cassville: Deven Bates, 68-115-1,432, 18 TDs, 1 INT

Trinity: Chris Cotton, 98-159-1,346, 16 TDs, 6 INTs

Receiving

Cassville: DJ White, 43-801, 10 TD; Bowen Preddy, 15-477, 7 TD; Jericho Farris, 5-111

Trinity: James Frenchie, 32-422, 6 TDs; Tam Williams, 17-367, 4 TDs; Malcolm Harvey, 19-235, 3 TDs

Defense

Cassville: Zach Coenen, 69 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception; Andrew Prier, 56 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries; Jericho Farris, 52 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries and 1 interception

Trinity: Jalene Riggins, 52 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 interception; Scott Presson, 35 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery; Martez Poynter, 34 tackles 11 tackles for loss; 2 fumble recoveries

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