Getting that first win remains a challenge for the Neosho Wildcats and their latest challenge will be tonight against the Nixa Eagles at Bob Anderson Stadium.

Getting that first win remains a challenge for the Neosho Wildcats and their latest challenge will be tonight against the Nixa Eagles at Bob Anderson Stadium.
Nixa comes in at 4-0 overall and 3-0 Central Ozark Conference Large, with Neosho both 0-4 overall and 0-4 conference.
Turnovers and penalties — especially the former — have been major contributing factors in Neosho’s 0-4 start. For example, last week, Carl Junction converted a series of Neosho turnovers into points and came out with a 35-7 win.
The game started promisingly for the Wildcats, at least for the duration of the first quarter. Neosho senior quarterback Gavin Kelley opened the scoring with a 64-yard touchdown run, Neosho’s longest play of the season. The Wildcats controlled time of possession and Connor McGehee made a key strip on Carl Junction standout running back Rayquion Weston inside the Neosho 5, derailing Carl Junction’s first possession.
Ultimately, though, Neosho’s defense could not keep Carl Junction off the field, as the Wildcats continue to have trouble stopping opponents in third- and fourth-down situations, a problem that’s plagued them every game this season.
Nixa defeated Willard 41-27, Branson 21-19, Springfield Central 38-0, and Republic 31-26. The Eagles, like the Wildcats, lost a ton of starters from last season.
In Week 1, running back Sean Sample — best known for his 50-yard field goal in the district playoffs against Neosho last season — gashed Willard for 306 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. This was his first start, after replacing the graduated Nicos Oropeza.
In Week 2, Alex Allen — a 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior tight end and Division I prospect — blocked Branson’s 32-yard field goal as time expired, preserving Nixa’s unbeaten start.
Last week, Nixa quarterback Jack Sanders had the big night. He passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 89 yards and one more score.
The Eagles have the experience of winning close games this season.
The last three Neosho and Nixa games have come down to the wire.

PATRIOTS (0-4) at INDIANS (4-0)
After three straight weeks of giving teams their only losses of the season, beating Osage, McDonald County and Mount Vernon, the Seneca Indians return home to face winless East Newton, a Big 8 Conference and Newton County rival, at Earl Campbell Stadium.
By virtue of its win last week over Mount Vernon, Seneca moved up three spots to No. 6 in the Class 3 state rankings by Missouri media.
The Indians also lead Class 3, District 4 with 55.67 points, helped out by their wins over Class 4 schools Nevada and McDonald County, as well as their head-to-head win over Mount Vernon. If the season ended now, Seneca would meet East Newton in a district playoff opener.
Every week, it seems like it’s somebody else different who has a big game for the Indians on the offensive side, while the defense has been steady and strong against Osage, McDonald County, and Mount Vernon, surrendering 27 points over three wins.
Last week, Seneca scored all 19 of its points in the first half against Mount Vernon.
Gavin Clouse scored a pair of short touchdown runs and Trey Wilson scored on a 52-yard touchdown run. Max Roark intercepted a pair of passes on the defensive side and in games against Osage and Mount Vernon, he’s come through with six picks.
East Newton comes off a 52-25 loss to Aurora last week. The Patriots scored their most points of the season, having been blanked their first two weeks against Lighthouse Christian and Lamar then cracking the scoreboard with a touchdown against Cassville.
Last week, East Newton had three touchdowns from Dustin McDermott — one on a kickoff return and two through the air — and Justus Palmeri scored on a 4-yard touchdown run.
Last season, East Newton ended lengthy losing streaks both overall and Big 8 Conference with a 14-0 Homecoming win over Seneca at Don Johnston Stadium.

MOUNTAINEERS (3-1) at MUSTANGS (3-1)
McDonald County went into Cassville last Friday night and defeated the Wildcats 21-14 on their Homecoming. This was McDonald County’s first win against Cassville since 2002.
Mount Vernon took a 19-7 loss to Seneca last week, its first loss of the season. The Indians scored all 19 of their points in the first half.
Mount Vernon and McDonald County both had their only loss come against Seneca.
Last week, Cassville led McDonald County 14-7 at halftime, but the Mustangs scored 14 points and held Cassville scoreless after halftime.
Israel DeSantiago rushed for 145 yards and one TD for the Mustangs, scoring the only points of the first half for the Mustangs.
Peyton Barton hit Kennedy Hodson on a 6-yard touchdown pass and Dylan Teague gave the Mustangs the lead for good on a 1-yard run with 6 minutes, 56 seconds remaining on the clock.
Last season, McDonald County fell 53-8 to Mount Vernon and the Mustangs have lost all three meetings with Mount Vernon since joining the Big 8 in 2014.

TIGERS (4-0) at WILDCATS (0-4)
Diamond returns home looking for its first win of the season after traveling to Forsyth last week and coming out on a 48-33 loss. The Wildcats fell behind 26-0 after one quarter and fought back with 13 points in the second, six in the third, and 14 in the fourth.
Sophomore running back Colbin Brown had an outstanding individual game, rushing for 136 yards and four Diamond touchdowns.
The Wildcats have lost a pair of home games this season, 47-40 in overtime to Jasper in Week 2 and 52-0 to Buffalo in Week 3.
Diamond runs into a Lockwood team 4-0 on the season. The Tigers are ranked 10th in the latest media poll.
Last week, Lockwood pounded Archie 34-0 with a heavy dose of Josh Osterdyk, who rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns.
Two weeks ago, in a 49-14 win over Forsyth, Osterdyk had a pair of touchdowns on the ground and a 74-yard kickoff return for a third score. Paxton Masterson threw a pair of touchdowns on just five completions.
In other words, Lockwood’s been an explosive team early this season, outscoring its first four opponents by a combined 147-33. Three of the Tigers’ wins came on the road.