Wildcats just want to play

Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Jericho Farris follows his blockers on a kickoff return during the Wildcats’ win over McDonald County on Oct. 23. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville getting stir crazy with time off

It has now been two full weeks since the Cassville football team has taken a competitive snap.

While the week-one layoff was earned due to the success of the regular season, getting the Wildcats a bye in the playoffs, the dreaded virus of many names caused Reeds Spring to forfeit the district semifinal with the Wildcats roughly 24 hours before kickoff.

Zach Coenen fights for extra yards during the Wildcats’ win over McDonald County on Oct. 23. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

“We need to play,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “We want to play. You know, I have never been through anything like this. We aren’t a college program. We haven’t had to prepare a team for two or three weeks to play a bowl. We are used to a routine of weekly games.”

With a one-week layoff, the Wildcats had a chance to work on fundamentals. Last week, they went through the routine of getting ready for the Wolves, only to win without having to take a snap.

The big question looming for Parnell is how sharp will his team be when it finally takes the field on Friday.

“There is that fine line of how hard to push your team to keep that edge without risking getting them hurt in practice,” Parnell said. “You want to come out ready, but you hate just sitting around practicing.”

Meanwhile, the Wildcats will entertain and old familiar foe in Mt. Vernon, a rematch of the 2018 district title game that still causes painful memories for the Wildcats faithful, as the Mountaineers came into Cassville and took the district crown home with them.

“They are a well-coached team,” said Parnell. “Coach Chris Johnson always has a defensive game plan that just gives you fits, and Head Coach Tom Cox is a master at creating offensive mismatches. This games will be a slugfest.”

When it comes down to defining what Mt. Vernon does to give team fits, Parnell said it is fairly simple.

“On defense, Coach Johnson does a great job keeping his linebackers clean,” he said. “Our linemen struggle to get upfield and block, and their linebackers are free to make plays. On offense, Cox is willing to try or do anything. His unpredictability is tough to prepare for.”

Keys for Cassville

• Get back in the flow

With two weeks off, the team that can settle back into the season rhythm first has the best chance to win the game.

• Something new?

Despite the best efforts of the Democrat staff, Parnell declined to give any specific plays or coverage the team could employ. However, expect Cassville to throw one or two wrinkles in their plan. The week off gave them plenty of time to tinker with the playbooks.

• Ball control

Winning the turnover battle is a must for Cassville if the team wants to host a district championship.

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