The 2018 football season got off to a rough start for the Aurora Houn' Dawgs, as they dropped last Friday's season opener at home to Cassville, 42-12. Fortunately, the two schools are now in opposite divisions of the new Big 8 Conference -- Aurora in the East and Cassville in the West.

The game got off to a good start defensively for Craig Weldy's Houn' Dawgs, as senior Logan Lauffer recovered a fumble to end the Wildcats' first drive. But the home team couldn't capitalize on the turnover and would soon punt for the second time in the game.

Cassville would score on a 12-yard pass with just under a minute to go in the quarter to make it a 7-0 game after the extra point.

Aurora's own turnover woes began early in the second period, as junior quarterback Jay Lee was picked off less than a minute into the quarter. The Wildcats did take advantage, scoring another touchdown three minutes later to take a 14-0 lead.

The Houn' Dawgs would eventually get on the board before the end of the half, converting on their own opportunity after another Cassville fumble. A short pass from Lee to Casey Weathermon was good for the first touchdown of the season, but the extra point attempt was blocked, making it a 14-6 game with 3:13 to go in the half.

Aurora would get another chance quickly, as Cassville fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but a three-and-out erased that chance, and the Wildcats would soon add another seven points to the lead after a 75-yard touchdown pass.

The momentum was well on the visitors' side at the halftime whistle, but Aurora turned the tables two minutes into the second half. Weathermon picked off a pass, giving the Houn' Dawgs the ball on their own 30-yard line, and the home team drove 70 yards to score on a short keeper by Lee to reduce the Wildcat lead to 21-12.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Houn' Dawgs would get no closer, as Cassville scored again three and half minutes later and once more in the period one play after an interception against Lee. The Wildcats added one more TD in the fourth quarter to put the game away for good by a score of 42-12.

Aurora will go on the road Friday to face another team from the Big 8 West in East Newton.