Many had discounted the fact that those victories came over Neosho, McDonald County and East Newton and a few thought that the Cubs would come back to earth with a loud thud against the Houn' Dawgs (3-2, 1-2).
Monett responded to the critics and doubters with a 21-0 victory spoiling the Houn' Dawg Homecoming and sending a statement to everyone that the Cubs are a solid football team.
Monett entered into the contest with two big questions: Could they stop Aurora's running game, and could the offensive line open lanes for the running backs?
Monett sufficiently answered both questions.
Aurora's Everett Basham, who torched the Cubs for over 200 yards rushing a year ago, was held to a paltry 32 yards on 12 carries. Basham was averaging 139 yards rushing per contest this season.
Quarterback Clayton Sumners, because of sacks, rushed for a negative 21 yards.
"I was so proud of our defensive effort tonight," said Depée. "The entire unit stepped up and played hard for four quarters. They were tough all night against a good football team."
On offense, Monett gained 255 total yards, 248 on the ground, and running back Aaron Hall chewed up 188 yards on 37 carries.
The offensive line, consisting of Devon Overall, Reese Bounous, Cristian Romero, Michael Childress, Fernando Salas and Matt Wentz, became stronger as the game wore on.
"Those guys have improved every week," said Depée. "As the game progressed, they kept getting better and better."
Aurora took the ball to start the game, but Monett made it clear that they were going to be the aggressor.
The Dawgs picked up two first downs before being forced to punt.
Monett began its first drive at its own 15-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, Hall slipped a tackle and raced 60 yards to the Aurora 25. Matt Murphy picked up 15 yards on the next play and two plays later quarterback Kyle Woods bulldozed into the end zone from a yard out. Aaron Aldrich tacked on the PAT to give Monett a 7-0 advantage.
Aurora's next two drives ended with fumbles that the Cubs recovered. Monett's offense sputtered on each occasion and was unable to capitalize on the turnover gifts.
"We have got to be better in our execution when we get turnovers on the plus side of the 50-yard line," said Depée. "It would have made a huge difference if we had taken advantage of those opportunities."
The Houn' Dawgs partially blocked a Monett punt with 57 seconds remaining in the first half setting up shop at the Monett 49-yard line.
After two plays resulted in minimal yardage, Sumners found a streaking Basham down the sideline for a 36-yard gain to the Monett 15 with seven seconds left in the half. An incomplete pass stopped the clock with 2.7 seconds remaining.
On the next play, Sumners rolled out and found Jacob Crane for a 10-yard gain, but the Dawgs needed five more yards. The clock expired and the Cubs took the 7-0 lead into halftime.
The Cubs came out of the locker room and established control early.
Monett marched the opening drive of the second half from its own 34 to the Aurora 15 and took nearly seven minutes off the clock before turning it over on downs.
The defense rose to the occasion.
Basham gained a yard on first down and an incomplete pass brought up third and 9.
Sumners dropped back to pass and found a host of Cubs defenders closing rapidly. Monett sacked Sumners for a 14-yard loss back to the 1-yard line.
After a 38-yard punt, Monett went to work marching 39 yards in four plays with Hall capping the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. The kick failed, but Monett led 13-0
"That was a big sequence for us," said Depée. "That touchdown was the turning point of the second half."
Auroras next drive stalled at the Monett 39-yard line.
The Cubs then mounted a will-crushing, game-securing drive. Monett pounded the ball 11 plays, converting three third downs and milking six minutes off the clock. Hall capped the drive with a 4-yard plunge and Zack Swearingen tacked on the two-point conversion to complete the scoring.
In the second half, Monett possessed the ball for 16:26 of the 24 minutes.
"We knew coming in that we had to do the little things right," said Depée. "We took another step in the right direction."
Monett will host Cassville Friday night in a battle for Big 8 bragging rights and the top spot in the district playoff standings. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Big 8 scores
Seneca over McDonald County, 40-14
Mt. Vernon beat East Newton, 54-14
Cassville downed Carl Junction, 34-24
Lamar defeated Butler, 63-14
Spring River Valley scores
Diamond over Pierce City, 36-14
Greenfield beat Liberal, 26-0
McAuley downed Ash Grove, 28-21
Sarcoxie handled Jasper, 40-0