‘Cats face ‘Cats on Friday
Cassville aims to get back to .500 after Nevada loss
It has been eight years since the Cassville football team (1-2) had a sub-.500 record going into Week 4 of the season, and the Wildcats are hoping to match that 2013 campaign by righting the ship and producing a winning record, starting with getting back to even on Friday.
The Wildcats play host to another team of their mascot-sake, Logan-Rogersville (0-3). Between the teams, Cassville has the only win of the season, a Week 1 victory over Mt. Vernon. The Wildcats have since lost to Marshfield and Nevada.
Logan-Rogersville has yet to find a winning formula, dropping contests to Nevada, Seneca and Aurora, outscored 127-66 in the process.
“Rogersville has been beaten by three very good football teams,” said Lance Parnell, Cassville coach. “They are also a good team and have had a tough early schedule. They throw the heck out of the ball, so it will be a complete 180 from what we saw against Nevada.
We of course have to stop the run, but Rogersville will want to spread us out and throw, so we’ll have to be good in coverage and in space.”
The Wildcats fell on Friday to a run-heavy Tigers team that put some wrinkles in their gameplan. Nevada rushed for 227 yards, but the Tigers also went 7-for-11 through the air for 169 yards and three touchdowns, from 40, 60 and 16 yards.
“We played a lot harder and more physical on both sides of the ball than we did [in Marshfield],” Parnell said. “But, we lost a little discipline with our eyes. If you get in the wrong spots with [Nevada’s] misdirection, you’re going to get hit with a big play in the passing game.
“But, we competed on all four quarters and showed signs of improvement, which is what we want to see from a young football team.”
Senior Ethan Fuchs said the offense on Friday was much-improved, especially up front.
“The offensive line stepped up really well, and the defensive line was able to shut them down and made them rely on the big play,” he said. “Our secondary lost their eyes a little at times, but we have young kids stepping up into varsity roles and those things will happen.”
Parnell said looking forward, play in the secondary will be crucial.
“We have got to be a whole lot better in dropping our secondary and linebackers,” he said. “Logan-Rogersville is a different team than who we’ve played, but for us, it’s focused more on being fundamentally sound. We have to tackle better than we did against Nevada, especially against Rogersville because they are explosive and athletic.”
Offensively, Parnell said controlling the ball is a must.
“We want to continue to run the football efficiently and control the clock a little bit,” he said. “We have also got to limit turnovers. That has been our achilles heel a couple times this season already. We did a great job battling back on Friday and cut it to one score and made things interesting, then we had some turnovers.
Cassville suffered from a pair of lost fumbles and one interception, but the Wildcats managed to top 300 total yards of offense, 129 on the ground and 221 through the air.
“We did a great job throwing and catching, but we have to establish our run game against Logan-Rogersville,” Parnell said.
Fuchs said the key for facing the Wildcats is all in this week’s preparations.
“We have to prepare better,” he said. “We did well last week, but we have to keep getting better as we go. But, I feel good about [this] week. We have to be physical, because that’s what Cassville football is about, and we have to stop them up front and eliminate our turnovers.”
Keys for Cassville
• Keep grinding
Every week in the Big 8 is a tough one, but the last two weeks have been exceptionally difficult. The Wildcats need to forget those setbacks and grind to a win this week.
• Eyes up
The Logan-Rogersville offense is dynamic. Cassville has to not lose track of the Tigers’ skill player or their quarterback.
• Run tough
The run game has been steadily improving. The Wildcats have to keep those gains going each week.
Nevada started the scoring quickly, connecting on a 40-yard touchdown strike up the middle only 1:11 in.
The Wildcats fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage, and Nevada added to the lead with a 1-yard run set up by a pass of about 30 yards.
Cassville then embarked on a drive lasting 5:30, with Hernan Hernandez providing a couple of big catches and Bryson Jacobson churning runs to eventually score on a 3-yard push.
The Tigers, however, kept hitting quick, connecting a 60-yard touchdown pass 47 seconds later for their third score of the quarter.
Early in the second frame, Isaac Hadlow caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Cutter Hicks to make it a one-score game again.
But Nevada wouldn’t have it, hitting a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 30-14 halftime lead.
Cassville’s highlight of the game came just after the break, a 62-yard touchdown catch by Jake Anthonysz. It would be the last trip to paydirt for Cassville on the night.
Nevada added a 25-yard touchdown run and a 1-yard touchdown run to provide the final scoreline.
Jacobson led the Wildcats on the ground, going 93 yards on 21 carries with one score. Jerryd Reynolds added 27 yards on 4 carries.
Hicks gained 14 yards on the ground but went 12-of-19 through the air for 221 yards and two scores.
Hernandez remains the favorite target, as he caught 6 passes for 98 yards. Anthonysz reeled in 3 passes for 96 yards and a score, and Fuchs, Hadlow and Jacobson each pulled in a pass.
Defensively, Keaton Shellenberger led with 11 unassisted tackles and 4 assisted, including one tackle for loss.
Fuchs, Hernandez and Wyatt Alexander each tallied 7 unassisted tackles.
Kickoff for Cassville on Friday against Logan-Rogersville is at 7 p.m.