Technically the Cassville Wildcats have a "new" coach this fall, but he's hardly new to the program. Lance Parnell has been at Cassville 16 years, the past 11 of which he spent as the defensive coordinator to former head coach David Large. That experience with the players and the program has helped the Wildcats avoid some of the usual challenges that accompany a coaching change.
"The transition has been very smooth. There hasn't been a ton of changes for the kids," said Parnell. "When you're a part of something for 11 years, a lot of Coach Large's philosophy has become my philosophy."
The philosophy at Cassville has been simple over the years: Win. And they have found a way to do it, year after year. Last season they were tasked with replacing 8 offensive starters, and they finished 11-1. This year, they have a similar challenge on the defensive side of the ball.
"We're replacing 8 defensive starters," said the defensive minded Parnell. "Our kids have to step up and fill some holes, but we've got some young kids that are doing a good job."
On the offensive side of the ball, Cassville brings back junior dual-threat quarterback Gabe Kirk. A lot will be expected of the QB, but according to Parnell, the real strength of the offense may well be the guys in the trenches.
"I've been very impressed with our offensive line. We have a group of three seniors that have taken ownership up front. That's where our leadership has started to develop."
The Wildcats jump right into the 2013 season with a tough test at Branson on August 30th. Perhaps their biggest regular season game will come two weeks later when they host conference rival and 2-time defending Class 2 state champ Lamar.
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