After East Newton’s defense gave them fits in the first half, the Cassville Wildcats solved the riddle in the final two quarters and went on to blank the Patriots 42-0 in a Big 8 Conference game.
The only scoring done in the first half came on a three yard Hayden Prater run six minutes into the game, and a one yard scamper by Brent Thompson with 1:45 left in the second quarter made it 14-0 at the half.
Against the powerful Wildcats offense East Newton’s defense passed the first half test with flying colors.
“I felt like our defense tonight showed signs of greatness in the first half,” Patriots coach Seth Johnson said. “We bent and didn’t break a whole lot there in the first half. I was very, very pleased with our defense and they way they showed up.”
Perhaps a halftime pep talk provided the spark that got the Wildcats going in the second half. Quarterback Gabe Kirk drew first blood when he trotted in on a three yard run with 9:21 to go in the third quarter to make it 21-0. Kirk later found Thompson on a screen pass that went 51 yards for a score. Prater then added a 22-yard touchdown run and Chase Jackson scored on a six-yard scamper to cap the scoring.
In all, there were plenty of positives for the Patriots to take away from the game. Johnson credited defensive tackles Travis Allen and Clint Bray for having big games.
“I feel like our kids showed up (Friday) better than they’ve showed up all year,” Johnson said. “I was very pleased with the overall team effort against a very good football team in Cassville. Travis Allen and Clint Bray, our two (defensive) tackles, played extremely well for us and gave our defense an opportunity to be successful this week. I’m very proud of their play.”
Ian Plemmons led the Patriots in rushing with 33 yards on 13 carries. Ross Nagle ran for 28 yards on seven carries and Rocky Liveoak had 20 yards on 11 totes.
Codey Jordan was the leading receiver with 21 yards on one reception. Brandon Abbott had16 yards on two catches.
The Wildcats (7-0, 5-0 Big 8 Conference) finished the game with 300 yards of total offense while the Patriots (0-7, 0-5) had 130.