The Reeds Spring High School football team has experienced a year full of ups and downs this season.
That continued on Friday night, when the Wolves dropped a 42-7 decision at Cassville.
The loss dropped Reeds Spring to 4-4 overall, but there is plenty left to play for, both in the regular-season finale and in district play.
The Wolves will host Aurora in their final game of the regular season, and a victory there would guarantee the team at least a .500 finish.
“Getting that fifth win is big,” Reeds Spring coach Lance Gosch said. “Our kids are feeling good.
“I think we’ll have a good week of practice, work hard and try to get that win No. 5.”
The Wolves didn’t do enough good things against a Cassville team that has been around the Class 3 state rankings all season and improved to 7-1 with the victory.
Reeds Spring was limited to 210 yards of total offense and turned the ball over four times – on three fumbles and an interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the first half.
That sent the Wolves into the half with a 21-7 deficit. Cassville put the game away with three third-quarter touchdowns.
“They are a real good ballclub, and we made some mistakes,” Gosch said. “A team like that is going to take advantage of it.
“I thought our kids played hard, and we have to eliminate those mistakes.”
The Wolves’ touchdown came at the end of a 17-play, 80-yard drive, with quarterback Sean Gross running in from 6 yards out. The PAT cut the lead to 14-7.
That gave Reeds Spring some new life after fumbles on its first two possessions gave Cassville short fields and led to a pair of early touchdowns.
Colton Cramblett finished with 74 yards rushing on 17 carries, with Gross adding 61 yards and a score on 13 tries and Nate Cerny adding 40 yards on only three rushes.
While the loss was disappointing, Gosch isn’t concerned by the state of mind for his players as they will celebrate Senior Night on Friday, then move on to the district tournament.
A victory over Friday – and guaranteeing the team would keep its streak of seasons with at least a .500 record alive – is plenty of motivation.
Reeds Spring hasn’t finished under .500 since a 2-8 record in 2011.
“It’s one of those things were it could go a couple of different ways – you can pout about it and let it spiral, or you can learn from the mistakes and kind of build,” Gosch said.
“These kids have done that all year, they put it to bed and focus on the next one. It’s all about Aurora now, get to feeling good and go into districts and just go play.”