Twelve miles. That is all that separates one of southwest Missouri's best rivalries. On Friday night Monett and Aurora will renew this storied battle between two Big 8 foes.
"You never want to admit that your players get up for one opponent more than any other," said Monett Head Coach Chad Depée. "Motivation will not be an issue Friday."
"Any time you play your rival, your boys are going to be extra pumped up," said Aurora Head Coach Rick Scholten. "I think (the rivalry) is healthy for both schools."
The Houn' Dawgs' 4-1 record is quite a surprise to everyone not living in the town of Aurora.
"It has been a four-year process," Scholten said. "The first year, we started building the program and changing the culture. In year two, we focused on weight training and coaching our kids. In year three, we started getting the athletes needed to run our system. In year four, our hard work is showing on the field."
Aurora runs a power football veer-style offense. On defense, they will be in a basic 4-4 alignment.
"In order for us to be successful Friday, we must control the line of scrimmage," Scholten added. "We cannot afford to have turnovers and must execute our plays. Defensively, we have to rally to the ball and wrap up when we tackle. We cannot afford to give Monett second chances, with Monett's ability to throw the ball, and we have to play disciplined football."
The Cubs are coming off a much needed win over Carl Junction.
"We were able to get off to a quick start against Carl Junction," Depée said. "We ran the ball just enough to set up our play action pass. At halftime, I thought we made some good adjustments.
"We were able to score on our opening possession of the second half, and once we got momentum on our side, we had a lot of fun and were able to be agressive."
Friday night is going to be a battle of will and desire.
"Aurora is going to come out and run right at us," Depée said "They are content to get three and four yards at a time all night long. We are going to have to bow our necks and stand our ground.
"Offensively, we have got to do what we do," Depée added. "Run the ball to set up the pass. Defensively, we must dig in and hang on."
Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Aurora.