Wildcats welcome Bison herd
Cassville takes aim at semifinal berth
After a 20-day layoff, the Cassville football team answered several questions with emphatic force in a powerful district title win over Mt. Vernon on Friday.
“I was extremely pleased with how we came out,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “We played with physicality and discipline in the first quarter to build a lead. I thought we lost a little of our discipline in the second quarter and gave up a couple of scores because of it. At halftime, I reminded the team that we needed to get back to what worked in the first quarter, and I thought we did that in the second half and were able to pull out the win.”
The Wildcats advanced to the Class 3 quarterfinal round and host 9-2 Buffalo on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“There are only eight teams left in Class 3 right now,” Parnell said. “Every single one of them is a tough draw.”
The Bisons are led by a dynamic senior quarterback, Jamen Smith.
This season, Smith has thrown for 1,543 yards, rushed for 1,178 and accounted for 47 touchdowns (21 rushing and 26 passing).
When Parnell was asked who Smith reminded him of, his answer was swift and without hesitation.
“He looks just like [former Wildcats All-State quarterback] Ricky Nichols out there,” Parnell said. “He’s fast, agile and makes tacklers miss. He can throw the ball, too. On film, you see him get out of pressure. He is a big-time playmaker.”
Parnell praised not just Smith’s ability, but the entire Bison offense.
“It isn’t just him you game plan for,” Parnell said. “They have two running backs that complement him nicely and receivers that go and get the ball. They are a high-powered offense for sure.”
The Bison are averaging 43 points per game, with 243 yards rushing and 140 yards passing per contest.
The Wildcats average 33 points per game, with 297 yards rushing and 81 yards passing per contest.
Parnell stressed the need for discipline Saturday.
“Any time you play a team that has a dynamic player at quarterback, you have to be under control,” Parnell said. “You can’t lose contain and you always have to account for that player.”
Keys for Cassville
• Muscle up
Cassville has a chance to show off its ball-control offense. This game is a chance for the Wildcats’ line to make a big statement.
Look Cassville to use a spy of the quarterback. The Wildcats will need to get pressure without blitzing.
• Ball controlled
The team with the fewest turnovers will likely be the winner.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Wildcat Stadium.