Wildcats clinch top district seed

Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Jericho Farris picks up a bouncing kickoff before returning the ball 82 yards for one of his five scores Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Big game from Jericho Farris leads to Friday win

It was on the back of a five-touchdown performance from Jericho Farris Friday that Cassville secured the No. 1 district seed and a bye this week as the playoffs begin.

Farris took no prisoners in Cassville’s 44-21 win over McDonald County Friday, scoring on the ground, through the air and on special teams.

Ethan Fuchs makes a tackle during the Wildcats’ win over McDonald County on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

“I’m glad we came out and secured this No. 1 seed, but we could have played better,” Farris said. “We struggled on defense shutting down the big plays, but we took care of it.”

The Mustangs played much of the game through the air, something Cassville has not seen a ton of this season. Farris said he thought they handled it well.

“We knew they were going to pass, which is why we played with two safeties back,” he said. “They did good in the run game, too, which opened up the playbook for them.

Farris has been a constant on the Wildcats this season, and he said the key to his success is simple — stay focused.

“I want to win just like all my teammates do, and I’ll do whatever it takes,” he said. “If we have people out or we don’t, I’m willing to do whatever to win.”

Lance Parnell, Cassville coach, said Farris’ success is a direct result of his work ethic.

“He’s a talented kid and he’s put us on his back from Week 1,” Parnell said. “He’s had a great senior year and worked his tail end off to have this opportunity this year, and we’re excited for the second season with him.”

Parnell said looking back at the game, he’s proud of his Wildcats, but there’s still work to be done.

“At times, I thought we did well and, at times, I thought we had some self-inflicted wounds,” he said. “Some of the big plays we gave up gave them scoring opportunities. We knew they would throw a lot in the air, and it’s still just a few mental lapses defensively that are biting us.”

Going forward, Parnell said this week is new territory for him.

“Never been in this situation to have a week off going into the playoffs,” he said. “It was a big deal for us to be the No. 1 seed, and we really wanted that. To be on a four-game winning streak going into playoffs, we’ve talked about making it a habit to do things the right way and I think we are doing well working toward that.”

Cassville started the contest Friday by forcing a turnover on downs and taking the ball at its own 26. Six plays later, Zach Coenen found the edge for a 49-yard touchdown run, and a 2-point play put the home team up 8-0.

The second quarter housed most of the game’s points. Spencer Moeller’s 40-yard catch from quarterback Hayden Sink set up Farris for his first score, a 5-yard run.

The Mustangs then found the scoreboard with a 9-yard pass. But, Cassville answered quickly. Farris picked up a bouncing kickoff and took it 82 yards back to the house for a 20-7 lead.

A long McDonald County pass set the Mustangs up for a 3-yard rushing score with 54 seconds left. Cassville used the remaining time effectively. Farris found himself open on the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown catch for a 28-14 lead with only 4 seconds left in the half.

Cassville started the second half with the same drive, as Farris scored from 6 yards to put Cassville up 22.

The Mustangs answered with a 6-yard run, but it would be their last points of the contest.

Farris broke free again for a 46-yard touchdown to round out the scoring, and Cassville ran most of the fourth-quarter clock.

The Wildcats will have a bye in the first round of the district playoffs. They will host a semifinal matchup on Nov. 6.

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