Freshman Wildcats stumble against Bulldogs

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Breaking away Chuck Nickle Photography Freshman quarterback Gabe Kirk slips away from the outstretched arms of a Carl Junction tackler during last week's contest.

The Cassville Wildcats freshman football team took on a conference foe on Oct. 10 as they battled the Carl Junction freshman in their sixth game of the season. Late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs pulled away to hand Cassville a 42-10 defeat, marking the young Wildcats' second loss of the season.

Carl Junction jumped on the Wildcats early as the CJ offense broke a long touchdown run on the opening drive. After a couple of defensive stops by each side, Cassville quarterback Gabe Kirk got to the edge and run 55 yards for a touchdown to knot the score at 6-6.

Carl Junction would answer back on its next possession to launch another scoring drive against the stingy freshman Cassville defense. After kicking the extra point, the Bulldgos regained the lead at 13-6.

Late in the second quarter, the Wildcat offense got back on track with an impressive 70 yard scoring drive of its own. The drive was sparked by wide receiver Jordan Fisher as he caught a long pass from Kirk to set up another score. Fisher and Kirk capped the scoring drive with a five-yard touchdown pass with only 10 seconds to play in the half.

The Wildcats were not able to convert the two-point conversion, and CJ held onto the lead 12-13.

Disaster struck right before halftime. With only nine seconds before half, the Bulldogs took the kickoff 60 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to extend its lead to 12-20 at the half.

The second half was marked by a series of injuries for the Wildcats. First, Kirk was forced to come out of the game with concussion-like systems. Replacing Kirk was Brett Nichol who led the Wildcats on an impressive drive to begin the third quarter.

With some hard-nose running by Cody Olson and Lane Manning, the Wildcats drove the ball down inside the CJ 20-yard line. Unfortunately, just when it seemed the 'Cats were primed for a touchdown, a fumble killed all Cassville momentum. The fumble was recovered by the Bulldogs and returned 82 yards for a touchdown extending the CJ lead to 12-26.

The Wildcats, however, continued to scratch and claw their way back into the game. Again, the Wildcats drove the length of the field. This time, running back Chase Jackson would punch in a 10-yard touchdown run. Nichol connected with Jordan Fisher to add the two-point conversion to put the 'Cats back in the game at 26-20.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the freshman of Cassville would get. Carl Junction was able to mount another scoring drive late in the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 34-20 and put the game out of reach for Cassville.

On their last drive of the game with less than a minute left, the Wildcats threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown to make the final score 42-20.

"I was proud of the way our kids carried themselves tonight," said Coach Danny Powers. "We had to do a lot of shuffling around due to some injuries, and our kids responded well. Unfortunately, we made too many mistakes tonight. Turnovers killed us."

Coach Robbie Artherton added, "We gave up too many easy touchdowns tonight. When you give a team a kickoff return, an interception and a fumble recovery for touchdowns, it's difficult to win. We will need to correct these mistakes before we play again."

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