Parnell: “It’s next man up. These seniors and juniors, it’s their turn.”

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Cassville Wildcats prepare for season with fresh set of starters after graduating virtually every position

CASSVILLE, Mo. — The Cassville football team has made three deep runs in the postseason the past few years, but in that time, they had the same core of players. Now, after graduating virtually every starter they had, they’re starting from scratch.

Lance Parnell, Cassville head coach, says, “Graduation happens every year at the high school level. It’s just part of it, it’s next man up, these seniors and juniors, it’s their turn.”

Those juniors and seniors have been waiting for a while. After watching the classes above them make noise in the playoffs for the past three seasons, this group of Wildcats is ready to rise to the occasion.

Parnell says, “They lead by example. Their work ethic’s great, you know, we know what we’re gonna get from those seven young men every day. Now it’s just trying to push them out of their comfort zone a little bit.”

That involves getting comfortable in starting positions. So far, the only position the team has on lock is quarterback. Senior Cutter Hicks has filled in at QB before, as well as at corner and safety.

Parnell says, “Cutter’s really grown not just physically but maturity wise and had a really nice camp and first couple weeks of practice, so we’re really excited with what he’s doing at the QB spot.”

Hicks says, “It means a lot because I’ve kinda looked up to these guys most of my life, and now to actually be the guy is a pretty big deal.”

Cassville is a team that’s had plenty of postseason success in recent years, and of course one of the benefits of that is that their younger players have had much more time on the practice field, even if they didn’t see playing time in those postseason games.

Parnell says, “These kids are out here too. They may not be seeing action on the game field, but they’re out here every day, and you start counting, that’s 10, 15 practices that they got that they wouldn’t have gotten if we hadn’t played so many games last year, and that carried over. They understand what our expectations are here.”

The Wildcats will open their season on Friday, August 27 against Mt. Vernon. To view their whole season schedule, click here.

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