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Monday, May 2, 2016

Football Cubs drop season opener

Monday, August 27, 2012

Giving it the boot. Cubs freshman kicker Cameron Witt made his presence felt during Friday night's football game against Mt. Vernon. Witt's first high school punt pinned the Mountaineers at their own 2-yard line. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
Football is a game of adjustments, a tweak here and a tweak there is needed to help improve a team's chance of winning.

On Friday night, it was the Mt. Vernon Mountaineers that made the better adjustments at halftime to pull out a 26-10 victory over the Monett Cubs.

"Were disappointed," said Monett coach Chad Depée. "Mt. Vernon ran it right at us in the second half and we didn't have the answer. We wanted to put pressure on their offense and we weren't successful."

Running free. Aaron Hall finds some elusive running room during Friday night's football contest. Hall rushed for 116 yards in the game. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
The Cubs took the game's opening kickoff and methodically marched 79 yards in 13 plays but had to settle for an Aaron Aldrich 22-yard field goal.

The Cubs defense fed off the early momentum, holding the Mountaineers on downs on their first series.

However, the Cubs failed to pick up a first down on their ensuing drive and were forced to punt.

Spinning free. Monett's Nicky Roberts tries to spin free of the tackle attemp of Mt. Vernon's Shane Williams during the Cubs season opener Friday night. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
One of the few bright spots for the Cubs was the performance of the freshman punter Cameron Witt.

Witt pinned the Mountaineers at the 2-yard line. Of his five punts of the evening, he twice got kicks to die inside the red-zone and flipped the field position with boots of 40, 45 and 49 yards.

Neither team would mount much of a scoring threat the remainder of the first half. The Cubs led 3-0 at the intermission.

The Mountaineers took the opening kickoff of the second half and quickly drove 73 yards nine plays. Mt. Vernon running back Shane Williams gashed the Cubs defense with runs eight, nine 10 and 12 yards. He capped the drive with a 24-yard pass reception to score. Williams finished the evening with 201 yards on 24 carries.

"We knew coming in that Williams was their "go to" guy," said Depée. "I think we wore down a little bit and were fatigued. He never looked tired tonight."

Like a car's tire stuck in the mud, Monett's offense just spun their wheels, unable to get any traction against a very stingy Mountaineers defense. The team's wheels caught traction with 2:16 remaining in the third quarter at the Cubs began a drive from their own 8-yard line.

Monett only needed seven plays to cover 92 yards. A 39-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Woods to receiver Zack Swearingen moved the ball to the 2 and Aaron Hall found paydirt on the next play.

The 10-7 lead for the Cubs was short lived as the Mountaineers churned out a 13-play 69-yard drive capped by a Williams four-yard rumble into the end zone to give the home team the lead for good.

Monett would go three and out on their next series and a Williams' 34-yard touchdown run two plays later increased the Cubs' deficit to 20-10.

Zane Phillips would complete the scoring, stepping in front of a Woods pass on Monett's next drive taking it 40-yards to the house.

Phillips also caught seven passes for 66 yards.

"We've got to get up tomorrow and get ready to go to work," said Depée. "We need to assess what happened tonight. We know we have a lot of work to do. We need to be better if we expect to win next week."

Woods finished the game 10 of 17 passing for 116 yards and one interception. Hall rushed for 116 yards on 24 carries.

The Cubs will be at the friendly confines of Burl Fowler Stadium next Friday for their home opener against Neosho. The Wildcats are coming off a 45-7 loss to Bolivar.

"It's going to be a battle next week," said Depée. "We have a lot of thing to evaluate this week in practice. Come Friday night we will be ready."

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