Pass defense and a solid rushing attack were key to the Monett Cubs' 32-12 victory over the host McDonald County Mustangs on Friday in a game that was not as close as the final score indicates.
Despite being flagged a whopping 11 times for 131 yards, Monett's defensive and offense came through enough. The Cubs defensive secondary intercepted four McDonald County aerials, returning one for a touchdown and setting up another TD with the other. The Cubs also amassed 239 yards on the ground, 159 by runningback Christian Privett, to just 72 rushing yards for the home team.
While game statistics show McDonald County close in total yards, 257 to 310 for the Cubs, and leading in first downs, 18 to 11, many Monett yards and first downs, as well as one touchdown, were wiped out by penalties. Several of the Mustangs first and 10s were also the result of infractions against Monett.
McDonald County received the opening kickoff, and the offensive unit managed a couple of first downs before the Cub defensive unit stopped the mild thread at the 34-yard line. Four plays later, the Cubs scored for the first time this season and would not trail in the game.
After Monett got an initial first and 10, sophomore quarterback Tyler Green dropped back and found receiver Spenser Witt wide open down the middle of the field. The pass completion resulted in a 54-yard TD. The try for the extra point kick failed, leaving the Cubs on top 6-0 with 6:40 to play in the opening stanza.
Defense settled in for both teams at this juncture, resulting in a pair of punts. Following the Cub punt, the home team would give the ball right back to the visitors. On second down, linebacker Tristen Homfeldt intercepted the McDonald County quarterback, giving Monett the ball just 17 yards from paydirt. Runningback Christian Privett got those yards on the very first rushing play for the touchdown. Chris Eimer booted the extra point to move Monett into a 13-0 lead with 1:49 to go in the first quarter.
Behind the passing of quarterback Cameron Farmer, the Mustangs began moving the ball as the contest entered the second period. McDonald County reached the Cub 24- yard line before the Monett defensive crew, led by Jason Obermann, Beau Bounous, Kyle Fellwock and Jacob Childress, stopped the Mustangs on downs.
|Monett was unable to generate any offense and had to punt with Bounous getting off a 46-yard beauty to the 21-yard line.|
Three plays later the Cubs would be on the board again as cornerback Matt Hinkle got a pass theft and raced untouched with the 22-yard return into the end zone. Eimer's extra point kick upped the lead to 20-0 with 7:31 left until intermission.
Penalties against the visitors hindered any offensive output the rest of the first half. Meanwhile, the Cub defensive crew kept McDonald County at bay by coming up with turnovers. Homfeldt had a fumble recovery, and Eimer had a pass interception.
After punting the ball away on its first possession to start the second half, Monett would be in business soon enough.
Bounous's punt went 45 yards to the four-yard-line. McDonald County lost three yards on the next running play back to the one-yard-line. On the next play, a pass, the receiver was tackled at the goal line and fumbled on a hard tackle by Homfeldt. Matt Schiffner recovered the ball for the Cubs on the one. Privett then bullied the ball in for the one-yard touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, but the Cubs now led 26-0 with 8:29 to go in the third stanza.
Following the ensuing kickoff by the Cubs, the home team finally was able to move the ball behind the passing of Farmer and two 15-yard penalties against Monett. The Mustangs reached the 12-yard line and then finally got on the board with a touchdown pass from Farmer to John Graham. The kick for the point after failed, leaving the score at 26-6 with 6:05 to go in the quarter.
Soon the home team would threaten to score again after recovering a Monett fumble at the seven-yard line. But the Cub defensive unit rose to the occasion, pushing McDonald County back two yards in four plays and taking over possession on the nine.
Monett's offense then got into high gear behind the line play of Jacob Murphy, Ryne Johnson, Jeff Craft, Obermann, Bounous and others, who opened huge holes.
Monett went 91 yards in seven plays to score. Privett garnered 53 of those yard on five plays. Homfeldt gave Privett a breather and immediately sprinted 36 yards to the two. He got the TD on the next play. The try for the two-point conversion failed, and the score was now 32-6 with seven seconds remaining in the third period.
The final stanza saw the Cubs hampered by penalties and the Monett defensive bunch still in charge. With the game winding down, the Cubs went to its reserves on defense, and McDonald County took advantage. The touchdown came on a four-yard run by Sy Morris with just 35 seconds left in the contest to make the final 32-12.
This Friday, the Cubs will play their first home game of the year, hosting the Marshfield Bluejays in a non-league outing.
Touchdowns: Monett--Hinkle, Witt, Homfeldt, Privett 2. McDonald County--Morris, Graham. Extra Point Kicks: Monett--Eimer 2.