Spencer said the athletic program at Monett High School is heading into a new year coming off a peak experience last year. In a ranking of finishes for the various sports in which all the Big 8 Conference teams compete, Monett won the sports championship.
Points gained from conference finishes in football, volleyball, basketball, baseball and track were combined to determine the winner. This was the first time in Spencer's tenure that Monett has reached such an achievement, he said. Players also earned an outstanding rating for sportsmanship.
Many of Monett's athletes earned scholarships last year. Spencer said he stresses players need to compete to honor past teams, as well as the present and future squads. Team standards are high. Spencer talked about developing leadership among the underclassmen so they will be the ones players look up to as upperclassmen.
For the fall season, Spencer said there are around 68 players out for football, 30 for soccer, 25 to 30 for volleyball and about the same number as last year in tennis.
The football team will have a different look from last year's squad with only 10 returning from last year. Spencer said he will have a good defensive squad back but will need to replace four linemen on offense. Without as much depth on the team, Spencer expected to have more playing on both the offense and defense this year. As many as two backs and three linemen may be going both ways.
"We'll take one game at a time," Spencer said. "We have 10 to win."
The quarterback position is still "up for grabs," Spencer said. He expected the offense would have about the same speed as last year. The squad will lack some of the large players from the past but should make up for some of those shortcomings with speed.
|The return of All-Ozarks back Beau Bounous and Jason Obermann will give the team depth, Spencer said. Monett will have two players on the cover of this year's "Pigskin Review" magazine, illustrating the team will have a statement to make.||Spencer said it is difficult to stand out in this area, coming from one of the strongest districts in the state. He expected both Cassville and Seneca would be very strong this year.|
Spencer took his players to a football camp in Joplin this summer. Getting experience from scrimmaging with a bigger high school team offered benefits. This was the first time Monett had gone to Joplin for such a camp. The cost in working out with the Joplin team was $20 per player, as opposed to $150 per player to go to a camp at either Missouri Southern State University or Pittsburg State University.
This year Monett will not have to travel to the distant towns of Eldon and Marshfield, like last year. Both of those squads will come to Monett. The Cubs' first game of the season will be on the road on Aug. 28 at McDonald County.
Kiwanis President Lisa Balmas presided at the meeting, Dr. John Jungmann was the program chairman.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets weekly at noon for a meal and a program. Meetings are generally held at Happy House restaurant.