Cassville lights up scoreboard in Wolves den

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Cassville’s Jonny Medina (No. 5) jumps on a loose football in the Wildcats’ 39-28 win over Reeds Spring Friday. Medina recovered two fumbles and snagged an interception in the contest. Kyle Troutman/

Wildcats turn on after-burners in second half

When Reeds Spring hit a field goal at the halftime horn on Friday to go up 15-14 over Cassville, Wildcats Coach Lance Parnell knew he had to say something to get his boys back in gear.

“I was honest with them, and this group responds well to that,” Parnell said. “We were not focused in the first half, and we did not execute. We needed to find out what our intestinal fortitude was and find some leadership on the field.”

Cassville quarterback Shannon Haney stiff arms a defender to gain some room during Friday’s win over Reeds Spring. Haney rushed for four touchdowns in the contest. Kyle Troutman/

Found those things, Cassville did.

The Wildcats (1-1) ripped off 25 points in the second half to take home a 39-28 victory from the Wolves. The win came with impressive numbers, as quarterback Shannon Haney racked up 182 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Anthony Tolbert put up 128 yards and two scores, also averaging 9.1 yards per carry.

“When we lost [to Lamar] in Week 1, we knew we had to change things up,” Tolbert said. “This game we found what works and continued to hit on it.”

Tolbert said after how the first half went, he and his teammates knew what was coming in the locker room.

“In the first quarter, we were flat and not fully engaged,” he said. “Parnell knows when to give a us a butt chewing when we need it, and we knew we were a better team than we were playing like.”

Parnell said the biggest difference between the first half and the second came in the trenches.

“The offensive line played outstanding in the second half,” he said. “When they were mush in the first half and the offense struggled to get yards, they started creating creases and controlled the line in the second half. That was the difference in the ballgame.”

Tolbert said the second half performance goes back to mental toughness, a sticking point for Cassville this season and something the players hope to improve after the Wolves scored on three long running plays.

“We preach mental toughness and sometimes we get winded and make mental mistakes,” he said. “They will still happen, but we will perform to the plan and get tougher as we go.”

Parnell said the miscues on defense are just something Cassville will have to fix.

“Those [long scoring plays] were all breakdowns or missed assignments or two or three missed tackles,” he said. “We will have to clean that up.”

There were some bright spots on defense in the Wolves den, too. Jonny Medina recovered two fumbles and snagged an interception on a tipped ball, and Jesus Perez recovered a fumble, as well. Wyatt Goade and Evan Kessinger led the defense with 7 unassisted tackles each.

Cassville hits the road again this week, taking on East Newton Friday at 7 p.m.

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