Missed chances, penalties and a tenacious Wildcats' defense proved too much for the Cubs to overcome.
"We're frustrated," said Monett coach Chad Depée. "We know we let one slip away. We battled to the end. Cassville is a solid club that doesn't beat itself."
The Cassville defense forced Monett to punt its first two series of the game.
On offense, Cassville scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and put the Cubs in an early 14-0 hole.
The Cubs had three consecutive possessions end in a punt. In desperate need of something positive, Monett caught a break on the Wildcats next series.
Cassville began its third drive of the game on its own 26-yard line.
Monett returned the ensuing free kick to the Cassville 43-yard line with 44.7 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Cubs mounted a methodical 10-play drive to cut into the lead. Kurran Blamey raced to paydirt from 17 yards out. The extra point attempt failed, but the Cubs cut the Wildcats advantage to 14-8.
"The safety and the drive that followed were a key set of plays for our team," said Depée. "We could have folded, tucked our tails and ran, but the boys fought back."
Cassville tried to recapture the momentum from Monett in their next drive.
The Wildcats moved the ball from their own 28-yard line to the Cubs' 37 in three plays, on runs by Thompson, Hayden Prater and Craig.
However, a fumbled exchange from quarterback to running back on the next play gave the ball back to Monett with 5:44 left in the half.
The Cubs marched the ball down to the 11, but were turned away by the Wildcats' defensive wall and had to settle for a 29-yard field goal attempt. The kick was no good and the score stood at 14-8 at intermission.
"We felt good heading into the locker room at halftime," said Depée. "We told the boys that Cassville would try to get us in the second half and we needed to be ready."
The Wildcats came roaring out of the break. Cassville took the opening drive of the third quarter 65 yards in nine plays. Craig covered the last 22 yards on the ground to give the black and gold a 21-8 edge.
The Cubs' first series of the second half ended in a punt after three plays. Cassville set up shop at the 40 and worked the ball to the Cubs' 17.
Facing a fourth and 1, the Monett defense stiffened and stopped Craig short of the first down marker.
On the next drive, the Cubs could only muster eight yards in three tries and sent the punting team onto the field. On fourth and 2, on their own 28, Monett punter Cameron Witt kept the ball on a fake punt and rambled 17 yards to give the Cubs a fresh set of downs.
On the next play, quarterback Kyle Woods threw a 58-yard pass to Blamey for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, but Monett cut the deficit to 21-14 with 44 seconds left in the third period.
On its next series, Cassville extended its lead to 24-14 on Bradley Lueckenhoff's 30-yard field goal with 10:17 left in the fourth quarter.
Unfazed, Monett came right back with a 6 minute and 26 second drive that covered 56 yards in 11 plays. Woods scored from 10 yards out to cut the Wildcats advantage to 24-20 with 3:43 left in the contest.
Cassville recovered Monett's onside kick attempt, but was only able to run 1:30 off the clock, thanks to the Cubs' defense and timeouts.
The Wildcats' punter pinned the Cubs at the 10-yard line with 2:02 left in the game.
Cassville forced three-straight incompletions and a fourth down pass by Woods was intercepted at the 30-yard line.
A personal foul penalty on the Cubs moved the ball to the 15. Two plays later, Craig scored from 10 yards out to provide the final margin of victory.
"We left some points on the field to night," said Depée. "The (missed) field goal and PATs would have helped. We'll get better from this game. We have to."
Monett gained 253 total yards of offense, 149 yards rushing and 104 yards passing. The Cubs collected 12 first downs and were penalized seven times for 70 yards.
Blamey and hall each rushed for 50 yards on 29 combined carries. Wood ran the ball 10 times for 23 yards.
Blamey caught three passes for 100 yards.
Cassville was held to 279 yards of total offense, 204 yard rushing and 75 yards passing. The Wildcats picked up 14 first downs and were flagged four times for 35 yards.
Thompson rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries. Craig finished with 61 yards on 12 attempts and Prater picked up 59 yards on 10 carries.
Monett travels to Lamar on Friday, Oct. 5. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.