Coming back in the second half, the host Monett Cubs slipped by the pesky Lamar Tigers, 28-21, in a Big 8 Conference football game last Friday at Burl Fowler Stadium to keep pace with Cassville and Seneca in the league race heading into this Friday night's showdown at Cassville.
With the win, Monett went to 4-0 in the conference to remain atop of the standings with Cassville and Seneca. Overall, the Cubs moved to 7-0. Lamar dropped to 1-6 for the season and in the league.
Game statistics fail to reveal the whole story. While the visitors had the edge in total yards, 358 to 304; first downs, 20 to 12; and number of plays, 73-48, Monett took advantage of big gainers and field position to pull out the victory.
Lamar got off to a quick start in the contest. Following the opening kickoff, the Tigers marched 65 yards in nine plays to take the lead, led by the passing of quarterback Trenton Doyle. The touchdown came on a 16-yard aerial from Doyle to Colby Hall. The extra point was tacked on by Chaz Blackwell to make the score 7-0 in Lamar's favor with 7:43 to play in the opening quarter.
Monett, meanwhile, was unable to generate anything offensively in the early going. The Cubs turned the ball over once on a pass interception and relinquished possession another time on a punt.
Following the Cub punt, Lamar wen on another sustained drive covering 59 yards in 14 plays as the game entered the second stanza.
Once again, it was the passing of Doyle that kept the Tigers moving the ball. And it was a three-yard pass from Doyle to Markett White that enabled Lamar to add on to the score with 9:05 left until intermission. The extra point by Blackwell made the tally 14-0.
Monett began striking back at this juncture. On the second play from scrimmage following Lamar's TD, the Cubs got on the board. Quarterback Tyler Green launched a 57-yard scoring strike to Chris Eimer. The extra point kick by Eimer trimmed Lamar's lead to 14-7 with 8:46 to go in the half.
The visitors tried to respond after the ensuring kickoff, reaching the Cub 19-yard line before Monett's defensive crew, led by Kyle Fellwock, Beau Bounous, Ethan Davis, Jason Obermann and Matt Schiffner stopped the drive. A field goal attempt sailed wide and the Cubs regained possession at the 20.
With time winding down in the first half, Monett managed to get to the Tiger 34-yard line before a pass theft ended the threat shortly before intermission.
Monett started taking control in the third period. Defense dominated the early part of the quarter as both teams had to punt twice. Following Lamar's second punt, however, the Cubs took advantage of good field position to tie the game.
It took Monett just four plays to go 54 yards to tie the game. Runningback Christian Privett got one yard, a pass from Green to Spenser Witt netted 11 yards, Privett rushed for 16 more yards and Green connected with Witt again for the last 26 yards and the touchdown. Eimer's extra point with 6:45 to go in the quarter deadlocked the score at 14.
A penalty and a seven-yard loss put Lamar in the hole after the Cub kickoff, and the Tigers were forced to punt. Monett was in good shape again just 35 yards away from paydirt.
Passes of 10 yards to Eimer and 14 yards to Privett got the Cubs to the nine-yard line. Privett ran the ball in from there to give Monett the lead for good. The try for the extra point failed, leaving the score at 20-14 in Monett's favor with 2:10 remaining in the stanza.
Following the kickoff, Lamar, behind the running of White, managed to move to the Cub 35-yard line before Monett's defensive bunch rose to the occasion. A fourth-down try by the Tigers was squelched when Tristan Homfeldt tackled the Lamar quarterback for a 10-yard loss giving the Cubs the ball early in the last quarter.
Getting great offensive line pass protection by Ryne Johnson, Jacob Murphy, Jeff Craft, Bounous and Obermann, the Cubs went 60 yards in six plays to add on to the score.
The big gainer was a 40-yard pass from Green to Witt for a first and goal at the four-yard line. Privett punched the ball into the end zone on the next play. The try for the two-point conversion, a pass from Green to Witt, was good to make the score 28-14 with 7:41 left in the contest.
Running the clock
Lamar did battle back following the kickoff, going 74 yards in 11 plays to score. The TD came on a seven-yard run by White. The extra point by Blackwell left the Cubs ahead 28-21 with 4:01 remaining.
The Cubs then began running the clock after Lamar's unsuccessful onside kick. Monett got key first downs on a Green to Witt pass and a 16-yard burst by Privett, and moved to the 16-yard line with a minute to play before turning the ball over on downs.
Eighty-four yards away from a potential tying score, Lamar only had time to run three plays. The third play was a pass and it was intercepted by Witt as time expired.
Touchdowns: Monett--Eimer, Witt, Privett 2. Lamar--Hall, White 2. Extra Point Kicks: Monett--Eimer 2. Lamar--Blackwell 3. Two-Point Conversion: Monett--Witt.