His nerves were calmed with a 37-20 victory over Aurora.
"My hats off to Aurora, Coach (Rick) Scholten and his players," said Depée. "We knew coming in that they were a physical football team and wouldn't lay down. They played hard."
Monett (7-3) received the ball to open the game.
Aaron Hall electrified the small but enthusiastic crowd with a 52-yard kickoff return to give the Cubs excellent field position on at the Houn' Dawgs 40-yard line.
Hall, Monett's workhorse running back, toted the pigskin four consecutive times for 16 yards. Kurran Blamey ripped off a 14-yard run and then Hall finished the drive with a 9-yard scamper to pay dirt. Blamey raced around the left side of the offensive line for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Cubs' lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter.
The Houn' Dawgs wasted little time answering Monett's drive.
Setting up shop at the 42-yard line, Aurora running back Everett Basham carried the ball six of the seven plays needed to score. Basham collected 61 yards rushing on the drive, including the final 11 to the end zone.
Cody Coatney hauled in the two-point conversion pass from quarterback Clayton Sumners to knot the score 8-8 with 6:55 left in the first period.
Monett's next possession began at the Aurora 38-yard line. A steady and balanced running attack "matriculated the ball down the field," as former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram used to say.
Runs by Hall, Blamey and two fourth down conversion runs by quarterback Kyle Woods moved the ball 62 yards in 15 plays and took 5:02 off the clock. Hall plunged 3 yards into the end zone and Aaron Aldrich toed the extra point to rebuild a 15-8 lead with 11:55 left in the second quarter.
The Houn' Dawg turned the ball over on their next series with Nick Childress pouncing on the loose ball at the Monett 46.
A holding penalty on the Cubs erased a big run by Blamey and forced a Cubs' punt eight plays later.
With 4:20 left on the clock in the second quarter, Aurora started a drive at the 20-yard line. The Cubs' defense shut down the Dawgs and forced a punt after seven plays. However, a Monett personal foul penalty breathed new life into the Aurora drive.
The Houn' Dawgs moved the ball to the Monett 21 and a fourth and 10 with 47 second left in the half. Sumners found receiver Jordan Fronabarger open at the 16-yard line and Fronabarger appeared to pick up a first down on the run after the catch.
Monett, however, caught a break when the officials determined that the Aurora receiver stepped out of bounds prior to picking up the needed first down yardage. Two Monett plays later, the teams adjourned for intermission with the Cubs holding a 15-8 edge.
"We are in a dog fight," Depée said as he jogged toward the locker room. "We have got to pick up the intensity in the second half."
Aurora received the ball to open the second half. Taking possession at the 26-yard line, the Houn' Dawgs took advantage of Monett miscues to extend a drive that should have ended after three plays.
A defensive pass interference call on the Cubs on third down extended the Houns' drive. Monett's defense stiffened and forced a punt four plays later, but a muffed catch was recovered by white and red clad players giving Aurora new life on the Monett 13.
Seven straight runs by Basham led to a Houn' Dawg touchdown. The extra point attempt sailed wide right to leave the score 15-14 Cubs.
With their backs against the wall, the Cubs began their most important drive of the season on the 25-yard line. Chewing 5:47 seconds off the clock, Monett's offense ran 14 plays and scored on a 1-yard sneak by Woods on the first play of the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 21-14 with 11:55 left in the game.
The Houn' Dawgs opened shop on the 35-yard line and covered 32-yards on three plays. Monett's defense stepped up and forced Aurora into a fourth and long situation. Sumner's fourth down pass sailed wide of its intended target, giving Monett the ball back at the 31.
Seizing the opportunity, the Cubs needed one play and 13 seconds to extend the advantage. Blamey took the handoff and raced 69-yard to the end zone. Zack Swearingen barreled across the goal line for an additional two points to give Monett a 29-14 edge with 8:39 left in the game.
Needing a quick strike, the Houn' Dawg's offense sprung into action using only two plays to cover 73 yards. Basham covered the last 21-yards of the drive to cut the gap to 29-20.
The Cubs were forced to punt on their next series as the Houn's went into action at their 27-yard line.
Hoping for a big play from the defense, Monett' prayers were quickly answered when Blamey picked off Sumners on the first play of the drive.
Blamey returned the ball to the 15. Four plays later, it was Blamey who burrowed across the goal line from four yards out and a two-point conversion completed the scoring.
"It was a chess match all night long," said Depée. "I thought our kids did a good job of adjusting to Aurora's scheme. It took us a couple of series to get going on defense but we got there."
Aurora finished with 285 yards of offense, rushing for 198 yards and throwing for another 87 yards in the air and collected 14 first downs.
Basham ran the ball 26 times for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
Sumners completed four of his 16 pass attempts for 87 yards and an interception. Hadlow caught one pass for 51 yards to lead the Houn' Dawgs.
Monett amassed 288 total offensive yards, 260 yards rushing, 28 yards passing and achieved 15 first downs.
Hall ran the ball 28 times collecting 69 yards and two scores. Blamey earned 171 yards on 17 carries.
Woods completed four of his five pass attempts for 28 yards. Blamey caught three passes for 20 yards.
Monett will travel to second-seeded Reeds Spring on Oct. 31 in the semi-final of the district tournament. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.