Defense with a capital D was the determining factor in the 14-0 Monett Cubs football homecoming decision over the Carl Junction Bulldogs last Friday night at Burl Fowler Stadium.
Queen Sara Hammond and her court watched as the Cubs managed two first half scores and made them stand up in getting the Big 8 Conference triumph. Monett is now 5-0 for the year and 2-0 in the league.
While the home team struggled offensively most of the game, primarily due to misplays and penalties, Monett's defensive crew got the job done over and over again. Despite managing just two touchdowns, statistics for the game showed Monett's control. The Cubs out-gained Carl Junction in total yards, 261 to 201, and in first downs, 15-8.
Monett kicked off to start the contest but would soon have an early score. The Bulldogs were forced to punt on their initial possession and the ball was snapped over the punter's head, turning the ball over to Monett just one yard away from pay-dirt.
It took the Cubs just one play to get on the scoreboard, a one yard touchdown run by runningback Christian Privett. The extra point was added by Chris Eimer to make the score 7-0 with 10:33 to play in the opening stanza.
Following the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs still could not generate any offensive movement thanks to a solid Cub defensive effort led by Jason Obermann, Beau Bounous, Matt Schiffner, Jacob Childress, Kyle Fellwock and Ethan Davis. On the Carl Junction punt attempt, again the ball was snapped over the punter's head. However, the Cubs, given this golden chance at the 24-yard line, could not advance the ball and had to relinquish possession on downs.
Carl Junction then mounted a serious threat behind the running of Matthew Thompson and Chase Price. The Bulldogs reached the Cub eight-yard line when Monett came up with a critical turnover, a fumble recovery by Spenser Witt.
Led by the running of Privett, the Cubs mounted their longest drive of the night, 75 yards, to the Carl Junction 16-yard line, before stalling due to a poor snap on one play and a 10-yard penalty on another. Monett had to punt at the end of the quarter.
On the second play of the second period, the Cubs had the ball back again, thanks to another turnover. Eimer intercepted a Carl Junction pass, giving the Cubs the ball at mid-field. This time the home team would not be denied behind the fine offensive line play of Jeff Craft, Jacob Murphy, Ryne Johnson, Obermann and Bounous.
A nine-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Green to receiver Jesse Bremer got the 50-yard nine-play drive started. Green culminated the march with a seven-yard TD run. Eimer's extra point upped the Monett lead to 14-0 with 7:11 to go until intermission.
Neither club could muster any offense the rest of the first half.
Defense dictated the third quarter, which turned into mostly a punting game. Both teams kicked the ball away twice, with Bounous' second punt of 45 yards pinning Carl Junction back at the two-yard line late in the quarter.
Monett's defensive bunch held fast and made the Bulldogs punt for the second time in the quarter, coming away with good field position. But again, an offensive misplay plus a penalty, caused the Cubs to have to punt early in the final stanza.
Carl Junction was able to mount a little offense at this juncture, moving to the Cub 23-yard line before being held on downs.
It was Monett's turn to turn the ball over on a fumble late in the final quarter but the Cubs came up with a defensive stand again to seal the game.
The Bulldogs moved from the 37-yard line following the turnover to the nine with a first down and goal. Eimer and Brandon Marion had excellent pass coverage on the first Bulldog play resulting in an incomplete pass. Bounous tackled the Carl Junction quarterback for a five-yard loss on the second play. Eimer, Marion, Witt and Marcus Enlow followed with fine pass defensive coverage on the next two plays to get the ball back for Monett with 2:54 left in the game.
Monett then ran out the clock, getting a key first and 10 on a 35-yard run by Privett to enable the Cubs to keep possession of the ball.
Privett was the leading ball carrier for Monett and for the game with 168 yards on 30 rushes. Green completed seven of 12 passes for the Cubs.
This Friday, the Cubs travel to Aurora for another Big 8 encounter.
Touchdowns: Monett--Privett, Green. Extra Point Kicks: Monett--Eimer 2.