COLUMBIA, Mo. — It started with the opening kickoff and ended with Cassville losing in the state championship game for the first time.
Odessa started hot, scoring the first 14 points as the Bulldogs claim the Class 3 state championship 49-28. The Wildcats finishing as runners-up.
Bryley Ray ran the opening kickoff back 94 yards to give Odessa (15-0) its first state championship since 1994.
DJ White caught a touchdown pass late int he first quarter to give Cassville (12-3) some momentum going, but the Bulldogs had a response.
Odessa grew the lead to 28-7 with five minutes to play in the second quarter. The Wildcats added a touchdown of their own to make it a 28-14 game, and prove they wouldn’t go away quietly.
“That just says the type of kids we have in Cassville, the type of work ethic they have,” Cassville head coach Lance Parnell said. “They’re going to give you everything they’ve got and play their hearts out. That’s what these guys have done all year long.”
“We definitely did a good job leading,” Cassville senior running back Bowen Preddy said. “I felt like we led our team here greatly. Also we led the leaders below us. I think the senior class next year is going to be able to do about the same thing. They’re incredible athletes and they’re going to push their teammates.”
The Wildcats had won their previous two trips to the state championship game (2008, 2009).