In a mistake-prone game for both teams, the Monett Cubs had enough offensive and defensive punch from the line of scrimmage to come away with a 33-22 Big 8 Conference football victory over the host Mt. Vernon Mountaineers last Friday night.
Penalties and turnovers plagued both clubs as the game statistics show. Monett, 4-0 for the year and 1-0 in the league, lost four fumbles and was flagged 10 times for 75 yards. Mt. Vernon, 1-3 in the conference and for the season, had two passes intercepted, two fumbles lost and was penalized nine times for 75 yards.
The Cub offense proved to be the difference. Monett had 369 total yards compared to 281 for the Mountaineers.
Monett received the opening kickoff but could go nowhere and quickly had to punt. Mt. Vernon picked up a couple of first downs to reach mid-field. Then came the first key turnover as Jason Obermann recovered a Mountaineer fumble.
The Cubs scored in six plays, the touchdown coming on a 23-yard gallop by runningback Christian Privett. The extra point try failed to leave Monett ahead 6-0 with 2:04 left in the quarter. That changed in just eight seconds in back-to-back scores.
Caleb Myers received the Cub kickoff for Mt. Vernon, found a seam and raced 79 yards for the TD that tied the game. Corey Phillips added the extra point and the Cubs trailed for the first time this season, 7-6, with still 1:52 left in the opening stanza.
Points from turnovers
In the second quarter the Cubs got points from turnovers to regain momentum.
Unable to advance the ball, the Cubs were forced to punt on the second play of the second period. Beau Bounous' kick was downed at the seven-yard line. On the next play the Mountaineers fumbled and Kyle Fellwock recovered for the Cubs at the 15. After a five-yard penalty against the Mountaineers, Privett broke through the line and into the end zone for a Monett touchdown. Privett added the two-point conversion run to make the score 14-7 in Monett's favor with 10:49 remaining until halftime.
It was now Monett's turn to give Mt. Vernon a golden chance to score. A Mountaineer punt was partially blocked but in trying to recover the ball the Cubs fumbled it away to set up the Mountaineers in Monett territory. Thanks largely to a couple of penalties against the Cubs the home team reached the 18-yard line when Spenser Witt intercepted a Mountaineer pass near the goal line to stop the threat.
Behind the fine offensive line play of Jacob Murphy, Ryne Johnson, Bounous and Obermann, the Cubs headed for a score in just four plays. Privett raced into Mountaineer territory with a 28-yard run. Three plays later quarterback Tyler Green connected with receiver Witt with a perfect strike covering 43 yards and the touchdown. When the extra point kick was unsuccessful, the Cubs were ahead 20-7 with 3:46 to go until intermission.
Mt. Vernon did threaten to score late in the half, thanks to a Cub fumble, reaching the six-yard line. An incomplete pass as time ran out closed the half.
Early in the third quarter inability of the Cubs to hold on to the ball enabled the Mountaineers to close the gap. Monett reached mid-field but then fumbled. Caleb Sayre picked up the loose ball and rambled 48 yards with the return for the touchdown. Phillips added the extra point and Mt. Vernon had narrowed the score of 20-14 with 8:10 to play in the quarter.
Undeterred the Cubs bounced right back. Marcus Enloe returned the ensuing kickoff 31 yards into Mountaineer territory. On the next play Green hooked up with Chris Eimer for 27 yards to the 15. Three plays later runningback Tristen Homfeldt bullied into the end zone from seven yards out for the Cub TD. Eimer added the extra point kick to up the lead to 27-14 with 5:59 left in the quarter.
For the rest of the third quarter and most of the final stanza, defensive play by the Cubs, led by Homfeldt, Bounous, Obermann, Fellwock, Ethan Davis and Matt Schiffner, kept the Mountaineers at bay.
The Cubs did have an excellent scoring chance early in the final period, reaching the four-yard line, but another fumble pushed Monett back and a field goal try was no good.
Monett got the ball back on downs mid-way through the final quarter at the 20-yard line and it took the visitors just three plays to go 80 yards and score. Privett started it with a nifty 47-yard run. Green passed to Jesse Bremer for 14 more yards to the 19. Privett got those 19 yards on the next running play for the touchdown. The extra point try failed, leaving Monett ahead 33-14 with 3:33 left to play.
With time winding down, the Mountaineers finally moved the ball on offense. The home team ended the scoring on a one-yard drive by Phillips for the TD and two-point conversation pass from Phillips to Sam Cowherd with just 1:30 left in the game to make it the final score of 33-22.
Privett led Monett's rushing attack with 217 yards on 21 carries. Eimer caught two of Green's passes totaling 65 yards for the Cubs. Phillips was Mt. Vernon's leading runner, gaining 114 yards on 25 rushes.
This Friday the Cubs will celebrate homecoming versus Carl Junction.
Touchdowns: Monett--Privett 3, Witt, Homfeldt. Mt. Vernon--Meyers, Phillips, Sayre. Extra Point Kicks: Monett--Eimer. Mt. Vernon--Phillips 2. Two-Point Conversions: Monett--Privett. Mt. Vernon--Cowherd.