Last Friday night didn't go as well as the Monett football coaching staff had planned. The Cubs looked to make a splash at Mt. Vernon in the conference and district standings but they struggled to wakeup from the hibernation of the offseason and fell 26-10.
"I thought we played hard," said Monett coach Chad Depée. "We didn't respond well when Mt. Vernon pushed back in the fourth quarter."
There is an old expression in boxing that: every fighter has a plan, until he gets hit. There is no doubt that Monett got hit last Friday.
The question becomes, How do these gridiron Cubs respond?
"I told the boys that Friday night was the first step down the long road of our season," said Depée. "We have to learn from our mistakes and prepare for this week's contest."
On Friday, the Cubs prepare to entertain the Neosho Wildcats who fell 45-7 in their home opener to Bolivar.
"The score is not indicative of what type of team they are," said Depée. "Bolivar has some outright studs and will make a run in the playoffs."
The Wildcats offensive and defensive lines boast a ton of size. (Aaron Clardy, 6'5", 290 pounds; Logan Marble, 6'2", 195 pounds; Jacob Brock, 5'9", 205 pounds; Derrick Shadwick, 6'3", 230 pounds and Dexter Marble, 6'2", 190 pounds."
With Friday's forecast, the question is not, will it rain, but, will it be hard or torrential?
"We have got to get a push and open up some lanes for our running back," said Depée. "We struggled to find consistency last week. The rain will make that challenge a little harder."
Neosho sees speed and skill on the Cubs' team.
"They're fast," said Neosho coach Jay Schoonover. "For three quarters their line got off the ball against Mt. Vernon."
Schoonover was quick to praise the play of linemen Reese Bounous and Matt Wentz.
"I showed tape to our o-line and told them that that was how we wanted them to play," said Schoonover. "Bounous will be a load to handle because he knows how to use his size and speed. Wentz is a hustler. He is not that big but he has a big motor and won't quit."
The Wildcats are hodgepodge on offense. They will spread out in a five receiver set and then run out of the I-formation.
Look for the Wildcats to try to pound the ball between the tackles. Both coaches stated that the weather will impact their playbook and limit passing opportunities.
Keys for the Cubs
In order for the Cubs to crack into the win column three things have to happen.
* Push it. The offensive line has to create a seam for the running backs to get through. No seams equals no yards equals no win.
* Ball security. Monett running backs Aaron Hall, Kurran Blamey and Zack Swearingen must hang on to the pigskin. Field position and turnovers in inclement weather is tantamount to victory as Monett found out at Pleasant Hill last year.
Also the center to quarterback exchange must be solid.
* Muck it up. On defense, the Cubs must make the play at the point of attack. Since passing yards will be tough to accumulate, we might see eight defenders within five yards of the line of scrimmage
This game should be a low scoring affair. One touchdown could be the difference.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.