"It's a great feeling," said Depeť. "We have had an uphill battle all season long. We played a tough schedule and really good competition. Our kids stayed the course and kept battling. They have earned this playoff berth."
After a grueling start to the 2011 season that saw the Cubs play four state-ranked teams, all Monett needed to do was defeat East Newton to enter the Missouri playoffs.
The Cubs drove the ball to the Patriots' 12-yard line before the drive stalled. East Newton was held in check again and forced to punt. This time Monett went to work on its own 25.
The Cubs covered 75 yards in eight plays and scored on Tyler Green's quarterback keeper. Aaron Hall ran in the two-point conversion, and the Cubs led 8-0.
Monett again forced the Patriots to punt on their ensuing drive and Monett set up at its 30. The Cubs worked the ball to their 41-yard line and were faced with a third down and 10. On the next play, Green called his own number and picked up 40 yards to give the Cubs first and goal at the one.
On the next play, Green snuck into the end zone. The two-point conversion was good, and Monett led 16-0.
East Newton would not go away quietly. The Patriots took the ensuing kickoff and set up shop at their 33 with 1:55 to go in the first half.
Working quickly, East Newton picked up gains of 10, six, eight and six. Quarterback Rocky Liveoak hit John Hansen for a 26-yard gain to give the Patriots first and 10 at the Cubs' 13. Two plays later, Liveoak connected with Hansen again to cut the advantage to 16-6 at halftime.
"East Newton gave us some fits in the first half," said Depeť. "Coach (Bobby) Bishop had his kids ready to play. They worked hard all night long and never gave up. We were just able to make a few more plays."
East Newton caught a break on the Cubs' first drive of the second half when Monett fumbled the ball. However, the Cubs defense stiffened and held the Patriots to a Colby Thomas 32-yard field goal.
Monett quickly regained the momentum.
The Cubs' Hall covered 62 yards in three plays, scoring on a 21-yard jaunt. With the two-point conversion, Monett went up 24-9.
The Cubs' defense stiffened and a shanked punt gave Monett the ball at the Patriots' 32. Three plays later, Hall scored on a 15-yard run to give the Cubs a 30-9 lead.
East Newton cut the lead to 30-15 with 4:15 left in the third on Ian Plemmons' 15-yard reception. But Monett slammed the door shut when Hall broke a 47-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter.
"We stayed aggressive all night long," said Depeť. "We now turn our attention to the playoffs. I am happy for our seniors to get this opportunity to experience the post-season. They have provided great leadership and have earned the right to continue this season."
Monett collected 413 yards of total offense and 15 first downs. Hall rushed 21 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Green had nine carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
Green also was five of nine passing for 85 yards. Carlin Ballay had three receptions for 59 yards.
The Cubs finish the regular season with a 5-5 overall record and 4-3 in the Big 8 Conference in a three-way tie for second place with Aurora and Seneca with 4-3.
Monett will travel to Pleasant Hill on Wednesday to face the Roosters. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.