Wildcats left wanting more
Cassville looks to move past Week 1 loss
The Cassville football team is answering some questions of itself this week after a season-opening loss to Mt. Vernon that left the players and coaches wanting more.
Lance Parnell, Cassville coach, said while it was good to be playing football again, a 21-13 loss to the Mountaineers — with the final touchdown coming on a 38-yard hail mary with 12 seconds left — was not the start the Class 3 No. 1-ranked team had in mind.
“These were two talented football teams tonight, and the team that played the most disciplined football and made the most of their opportunities came out on top,” he said. “Composure [was an issue for us]. We did not play with composure in any way, shape or form. We struggled to get to the line, did not make some tackles we should have made, and we had lots of opportunities to make plays, but we didn’t make them.”
Cassville started the game in control, going 82 yards on a drive that chewed up more than 7 minutes off the clock, culminating in a 1-yard rushing score by Jericho Farris.
Senior quarterback Hayden Sink, returning to Cassville after a stint in Bentonville (Ark.), was stellar on the drive. He converted a third-and-short rush and completed a third-and-long pass to keep the drive going. Then, on fourth-and-3 from the 11, he kept an option and sliced up the center for 10 yards to set up the score.
“Hayden ran the ball hard while he was in there,” Parnell said. “He’s a load, and he’s tough to bring down.”
The 6-4, 230-pound signal caller came up limping after a tackle late in the game and did not return. Parnell said Friday he was not sure how serious the injury was.
Cassville continued its control over the next defensive stand, forcing a punt. The Wildcats then drive to the 23 but hooked the field goal left.
In the second quarter, Mt. Vernon found its offense, gaining big on a swing pass, then connecting a crossing route underneath for a 16-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
Cassville then drove into the red zone but failed a fourth-and-3 conversion and went into the locker room at halftime tied, 7-7.
The Mountaineers started the second half hot, driving 80 yards and hitting a 15-yard pass for the 13-7 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, Farris wouldn’t let Cassville trail. After a Drake Reese interception at the 5:53 mark, Farris took a handful of handoffs and drove the Wildcats to a 1-yard score with 2:12 to play. However, a missed PAT kept the score at 13-13.
“It felt good to finally play football again, even though it didn’t come out how we wanted,” Farris said. “[On our last drive], I just wanted to tie the game, and if we missed the extra point, get us to overtime and keep the game going.
“Mt. Vernon plays tough, and I like to play physical, and they are good on defense. [But, we struggled with everything], like tackling composure and discipline.”
Mt. Vernon took the ball at its own 20-yard line and moved into threatening territory. The Mountaineers hit a 38-yard pass up the middle to take the lead with 12 seconds left on the clock.
A pooched kick allowed Cassville two more plays, but the Wildcats’ final pass attempt was batted down at about the 5-yard line.
Cassville returns home on Friday, hosting Marshfield at 7 p.m.