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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Indians host Cassville at MSSU tonight

  • The Seneca Indians will be looking to exact some revenge when they take on the Cassville Wildcats tonight in the second round of the Class 3, District 4 football playoffs.
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  • The Seneca Indians will be looking to exact some revenge when they take on the Cassville Wildcats tonight in the second round of the Class 3, District 4 football playoffs.
    Before reading too far, fans should note the location of tonight’s game has been moved to Fred G. Hughes Stadium on the campus of Missouri Southern State University at 7 p.m. The move was necessitated due to heavy amounts of rain that has fallen over the past few days, with more in the forecast for today.
    The Indians will be looking to pay the Wildcats back after falling to them in the second round of districts on the road at Cassville last season. The Indians (7-3) already defeated them once on the road this season, a 26-7 victory in Week 4.
    “We’re excited about playing them,” Indians coach Dan Scheible said. “We know Cassville’s improved from when we played them before. We think they’ll have three or four players healthy that didn’t play against us the last time we saw them.”
    Wildcats tailback/linebacker Hayden Prater is one of the top players in the Big 8 Conference — he’s a unanimous all-conference selection — and is a player the Indians must account for tonight on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Gabe Kirk is also a playmaker that will be a factor.
    The switch to turf could actually be a good move for the Indians’ explosive offense. Tailback Braxton Graham has diced opponents in muddy conditions the past couple of weeks, but playing on carpet could spell trouble for the Wildcats’ defense as Graham enters the game with 1,822 yards rushing on 243 carries (7.5 per carry average) with 26 rushing touchdowns.
    Meanwhile, senior quarterback Payton Rawlins has thrown for 2,080 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 61 percent of his passes. 589 of those passing yards have gone to Graham, who has an additional 10 scores through the air, while senior wideout Chance Smith leads the team with 694 yards receiving with six TDs. Another senior, Dalan Merriman has an even 500 yards receiving with four touchdowns.
    Merriman is also the unsung leader of the defense with 105 total, including 82 solo stops.
    Depending on the weather, this could be a high-scoring slugfest.
    “We looked at our video and we know they’re a good football team,” Scheible said. “We’re excited to play them.”
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