The Wildcats prevailed 48-27, but the final score doesn't always reflect the manner in which the game was played.
With 3:46 left in the game, Monett's Kurran Blamey made an acrobatic over-the-shoulder catch, broke a tackle, maintained his balance and raced 87 yard, to pay dirt to cut the Wildcats lead to 35-27. Rogersville would return the ensuing on-side kick for a touchdown, and a Monett interception set up a short field for the Wildcats.
The Cubs had a rough start to the contest.
Rogersville moved 71 yards in four plays and scored on a 19-yard Evan Gruener pass to Dylan Cole to score on its opening possession.
In stark contrast, the Cubs punted on their first three possessions of the game.
"Our boys had a choice to make early in the game," said Depeť. "We could lay down and walk out of that stadium with a 42-0 loss or we could dig deep and fight. I think we were surprised by their speed. Once we adjusted, I thought we played really well."
Monett's Reese Bounous gave the Cubs some needed momentum when he ended the Wildcats' fourth drive of the game with a fumble recovery to give Monett the ball at its own 37-yard line.
A Blamey one-yard run and a pass interference penalty on Rogersville's moved the ball out to the 46. Two plays later, Monett caught lightening in a bottle when quarterback Kyle Woods threw a check down throw to Blamey who out raced the defense 37 yards to make the score 13-7 Rogersville.
The Wildcats drove 67 yards in seven plays to establish a 21-7 lead on their next possession.
In order to answer the Rogersville score, Monett turned to Blamey to provide some instant offense. The Cubs' speedster covered 68-yards on the ground to cap a three play, 74-yard drive.
"He is quick," said Depeť. "We have a lot of speed on the edge. Kurran and Tyler Green, Carlin Ballay and Aaron Hall all have speed to spare. We have been fortunate to get Blamey in a position where he could succeed."
Rogersville would make good use of the two-minute drill, marching 63 yards to push the score to 28-14 at halftime.
|Monett's offense would stall on its first three possessions of the second half.||Rogersville tacked on a score on a Cole five-yard run with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter giving the Wildcats a commanding 35-14 lead.|
Needing to find a rhythm, the Cubs set up shop on their 23-yard line with 3:42 to go in the third and put together a most impressive drive.
Monett traveled 77 yards in 17 plays, converting two fourth downs and scoring on a Woods one-yard plunge.
"That is the type of drive you want your offense to have," said Depeť. "Our kids gained a lot of confidence as we methodically moved the ball. If we can move the ball like that in every game we play, we will be a tough team to beat."
The Cubs defense would get the ball back, forcing Rogersville to punt on its next possession. That's when Blamey made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab.
"We weren't perfect tonight," said Depeť. "We saw several things we need to work on in practice, and it is a process to get better. Rogersville is a good team;, they have a lot of talent. A team scan't afford to give up 14 points at the start of the game and be successful."
Monett outgained the Wildcats in total yards 421 to 377. Woods finished 15 of 24 passing with 240 yards and two touchdowns. Blamey caught five passes for 151 yards and rushed five times for 74 yards. Aaron Hall picked up 77 yards rushing, and Green finished with eight receptions for 75 yards.
Monett travels to Nixa on Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.