"When you look at what we are trying to accomplish as a team, it's a process," said Monett Head Coach Chad Depeť. "Part of that process is playing teams that are going to make us better."
The Cubs open the season Aug. 28 at home with McDonald County. Last year, the Cubs left Anderson with a 10-0 victory.
"Opening at home is always a special event," said Depeť. "We have great fan support, and it should give us a boost. The first game of the season is always the toughest game to prepare for. You can practice all you want, but you can't simulate game speed, hits, heat and emotion. The Mustangs were able to do things that frustrated us last year. Any time you play a larger school, you are going to face frustrations."
The Cubs then take to the road for a Sept. 2 game at Logan-Rogersville and a Sept. 9 contest at Nixa.
"Our first three games are a meat grinder," said Depeť. "In order to get better you have to play tough teams. Everyone we play early in the season prepares us for a post-season run."
Monett returns home on Sept. 16 to open Big 8 Conference play against Lamar. The Tigers are picked to finish second in the conference.
"Lamar is going to be a big test for us," explained Depeť. "They play a very physical style of football and like to grind out wins. This will be a tough contest."
A trip to Carl Junction awaits the Cubs on Sept. 23. Depeť thinks that the Bulldogs could be a wildcard team this year in the Big 8.
"Because of the close proximity to Joplin, you don't know how many players might have transferred into the school," said Depeť. "There are no 'give me' games in our league. A win against the Bulldogs will have to be earned."
The Cubs then face a four-game stretch that features teams that combined to win 32 games last season. These contests will go a long way in determining not just the conference champion but Monett's playoff fate.
On Sept. 30, Monett hosts Aurora, then travels to Mt. Vernon on Oct. 7, then returns home on Oct. 14 to face rival Cassville and then rounds out the whirlwind tour with a trip to Seneca on Oct. 21 to face the Indians.
"There is nothing easy about that stretch of games," added Depeť. "The Big 8 is one of the toughest football conferences in the state. We need to stay healthy and continue to work our system and follow the process of becoming a better team."
Monett concludes the regular season with an Oct. 27 home game against East Newton.
"We were 3-7 last season," said Depeť. "We had four contests decided by one possession. Our boys have put quality time in the weight room. Our summer camps and contact days have been very productive. We now have to apply what we work on day in and day out on the football field."