‘Cats look to grow after disappointing loss

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Cassville’s Anthony Tolbert is flipped up after a tackle in the game against McDonald County on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville determined to put the focus on focus

“We have got to grow from this,” were the words Cassville Coach Lance Parnell gave his team on Friday after a disappointing 21-14 loss on Homecoming night.

“We’ll have to figure out how we’re going to handle someone coming into our house and punching us in the mouth,” Parnell continued. “I’m disappointed in this loss, and I want to come back from it. If we want to talk the talk, we have to walk the walk.”

DJ White bears down on the Mustangs’ quarterback in the game against McDonald County on Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

Cassville showed flashes early in the contest, chewing up 78 yards in the first 6 minutes of the game to take a lead. A tipped ball caught by DJ White led to another score and a 14-7 edge for the Wildcats at halftime.

The second half would not be as successful, as McDonald County took control of the field on both sides of the ball.

The Mustangs put up two scores and held Cassville’s offense to never threatening in the final frame.

“I’m disappointed,” said senior defensive back Braden Strahan. “We have a lot to fix. We need to come out and play with more emotion. Prepping for that is huge, has everything to do with it.”

Strahan did have a bright streak in the first half, picking off a Mustang pass that allowed Cassville to run the last minute off the second quarter clock.

“The quarterback looked at me, and I’m surprised he threw it,” Strahan said. “I went to the ball and did what I could to grab it.”

Strahan said though, if there was one positive to come out of the game, it’s a revealing positive.

“The only good thing to come out of this is showing us what we have to fix and where to focus our energy.”

Parnell praised how far McDonald County had come in a year’s time, as he said the Mustangs played hard defense and stayed on the field on key downs.

“We moved the ball well in the first half, but we came back out and just could not get going in the second half,” Parnell said. “We didn’t do a good job fielding punts. We got pinned and they kept us there. It’s a big difference going 90 yards for a score compared to 50 yards for a score.”

Parnell said taking one on the chin will help the players learn about themselves ahead of a 3-hour trip to St. James this week.

“We have to refocus,” Parnell said. “We’ve talked a lot about focus in the last three weeks and finding out who are leaders are. I’ve also got to do a better job getting the kids ready to play.

“I love this bunch of kids and I have no doubt they will respond in the right way. This could be the turning point that shows us what we’re made of.”

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