So does depth.
Northwest Whitfield had a plus factor in both areas and used them and key Cass mistakes to overcome a two-touchdown night by Tarris Batiste and defeat the Colonels 29-15 Friday night.
As a result, Cass (2-4, 2-4 in 7-AAAA) failed to even its season win-loss record against Northwest Whitfield (1-4, 1-4 in 7-AAAA), which won its first game of the season.
The Colonels were flagged early in the game, with that mistake negating a field goal. A second key mistake negated a touchdown. There also were blown coverages that greased the offensive doors for the Bruins and contributed to a successful reverse that gave them momentum and more in the second half.
"We can't make mistakes and expect to win," head coach Rick Casko said simply. "If we had fewer mistakes, we are a different ball team this year."
The game didn't start out that way, however, as Cass put the stop on Northwest early.
The Bruins started their first drive at their own 20, lost 15 yards when a pitchout went awry and they were pinned on their own 5 and couldn't dig out from that hole.
The Colonels netted excellent field position, beginning their drive at Northwest' 41, but were unable to capitalize. Cass tried two running plays, gaining six yards, and faced a fourth and four after an Elijah Windom pass fell incomplete. Cass went for the first down but failed, giving Northwest the ball back on its 39.
The Bruins moved the ball only a few yards in response and punted back to Cass at midfield.
The Colonels got their offense untracked a bit as they overcame a play for minus yardage and two penalties in driving to the Northwest 3-yard line in nine plays.
Guadalupe Rangel split the uprights but a 5-yard penalty negated the apparent score and the second attempt at a field goal failed and the two teams remained knotted with no score.
Northwest advanced five yards its next series and punted one play into the second quarter.
The Colonels took over on their 20 and Michael Saunders darted through the left side of the Bruin line for 47 yards, as Cass found itself suddenly in business at the visitors' 33.
Windom hit Jordan Wright, who ran to the 3. After a 5-yard penalty was assessed two plays later, Windom found Batiste in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown and Cass was up 7-0 after Rangel's PAT was good.
Neither team did much its next possession but one series later the Bruins got excellent field possession with just over six minutes remaining in the half. They used up eight running plays in grinding their way down to the Cass 1-yard line. They scored on their ninth play and a two-point conversion gave them an 8-7 lead they carried into half time.
Cass went three and out its first drive of the second half, giving the Bruins the ball back at their own 29, where they started a seven-play drive that was capped with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nick Wagner. Joge Solorzano made the extra point and Northwest widened its lead to 15-7 midway through the third frame.
Cass started its next drive by being assessed a five-yard penalty and ended up punting.
Northwest responded with a 12-play that took up almost six minutes. That drive was almost upended when Albert Catron sacked Bruin quarterback Colter Creswell for a 9-yard loss and the visitors faced a third and 18.
Northwest sprang a reverse the next play as Luke Woodason caught Cass defenders off guard for a 23-yard gain and a first down. Two plays later Creswell hit Zach Sloan for a 14-yard touchdown and Northwest went up 22-7 after the PAT was successful, about a minute into the final period.
Cass came out firing passes the next series as the Colonels started at their 30 and made three yards off a Batiste reception. Windom tossed a strike to Wright around the 48 and the receiver skirted through the secondary before being tackled at the 14, completing a 53-yard play.
A holding call cost Cass 10 yards, then a second penalty negated an apparent 7-yard touchdown as the drive stalled; and the Colonels missed a 40-yard field goal try.
Northwest iced the game the next time it got the ball, as the Bruins took 10 plays, including one in which they fumbled but kept possession, to score on a 47-yard pass play to Clifford Phillips. The PAT gave them a 25-7 lead.
Cass needed almost two minutes to respond with a 10-play march that was highlighted by a 51-yard pass play to Wright. Windom found Batiste in the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to close the drive and Saunders made a two-point conversion, ending scoring for the evening.
Casko said coaches will focus on helping players overcome mistakes in hopes of improving for the remaining teams on the Colonels' schedule.
"We've still got a lot of games to play this year," he noted.
He added the Bruins' success on their reverse was a dagger in Cass' chances Friday night, adding the Colonels simply did not stay at home on the play.
"We have to cut down on our mistakes and our penalties, especially at key points," he said.
Casko said some Colonels were going both ways, too, and that was a factor.
"We're beat up," he said. "We had five going both ways."
The coach added the Northwest line was also a big factor as well.
"We tried to run but they have a big front," he said, "so we tried to use our passing game. We need to pass a little better at times to be successful."
Cass returns to the gridiron against Forsyth Central on Friday. The game, also the Colonels' homecoming, starts at 7:30 p.m.