"Our defense came ready to play," said Monett coach Chad Depée. "They remained fierce and attacked all night. It was a good win."
Several unanswered questions were raised in the days prior to the game, due to the fact these team knew little about each other.
Both teams offense's struggled in the first half, but for different reasons.
Reeds Spring ran into a revved up Monett defense, that smothered running backs, clogged running lanes and delivered huge hits.
Reeds Spring didn't achieve a first down until the 38-second mark of the first quarter.
Monett held the Wolves to 72 yards of offense, 60 yards rushing and 12 yards passing, in the first half.
On the Cubs first drive, chunk runs of 7, 12 and 14 yards by Aaron Hall and Kurran Blamey quickly moved the ball to the Reeds Spring 40-yard line. However, an interception on the next snap of the ball killed the drive at the Wolves' 32.
The Cubs' next series witnessed Monett move the ball from its 29-yard line to the Wolves' 30 before a 10-yard loss on a sack caused the offense engine to sputter.
With 6:09 left in the first half the Cubs were given a gift when the Reeds Spring punter shanked a kick after a bad snap. Monett set up shop at the Cubs' 40.
Monett moved the ball to the Wolves' 27 in six plays but a 3-yard loss on second and 6 stalled the drive and Monett turned the ball over on downs at the 29 with 2:08 left in the half.
Reeds Spring tried to run out the first half clock but Monett used its time outs to give its quick strike offense one more crack at points.
After a Wolves punt, Monett had no timeouts, 60 yards to go for a score and 1:16 on the clock to achieve the distance.
The Cubs were almost their worst enemy again.
An illegal motion penalty before the snap moved the ball backwards five yards. Hall then caught a pass for a meager 5-yard gain on first down.
With the clock running, Monett hurried to the line quarterback Kyle Woods, took the snap and faked a handoff. Woods then lofted a pass down the right sideline that found the hands of Blamey.
Maintaining his balance, the Cubs' senior outran the defense for the 60-yard score to give Monett a 6-0 lead before the intermission.
"We have got to finish our drives on offense," said Depée as he headed toward the locker room at halftime. "The defense is playing well and had a good first half."
The second half began much like the first with Monett unable to take advantage of great field position because of penalties on its first two drives.
Reeds Spring's second drive ended in disaster when a hook and lateral play went haywire. The catch was made on the hook pass pattern, but the toss on the lateral was dropped and recovered by Monett's Zach Swearingen at the Wolves' 47-yard line.
The Cubs would not squander this gift.
Hall ripped off 17 yards on two runs, followed by a 7-yard gain by Blamey. A personal foul penalty on Reeds Spring advanced the ball to the 14 and two plays later Blamey dove into the end zone from 11 yards out to double the Monett advantage to 12-0 with 5:10 left in the third.
|The Wolves flirted with disaster on the ensuing kickoff when the ball was fumbled. However, Reeds Spring maintained possession, but not for long.|
On their first play, quarterback Easton Flaugh's pass was tipped and then intercepted by Cooper Caldwell at the Wolves 40-yard line.
Five plays later, Blamey broke free for a 24-yard touchdown jaunt with 1:13 remaining in the third period. Hall converted the two-point attempt to extend the Monett lead to 20-0.
Reeds Spring countered on their next possession covering 68 yards in seven plays. Even then the score didn't come easy.
A 57-yard catch and run by Joey Longstreet gave the Wolves first and goal on the Cubs' 1-yard line.
A stingy Monett defense forced the Wolves to run four plays in order to gain that needed yard for the score. The point-after attempt failed leaving the score at 20-6 with 10:45 left in the game.
Monett's offense went back to work on the ensuing drive. Six Hall runs moved the ball from the Wolves' 48-yard line to the 6.
On third and goal from the 6, Woods rolled out of the pocket, avoided a tackler and found Grant Oganesyan open in the end zone for the score.
On the two-point conversion, Woods tried to score running to the left side of the goal line. The ball was jarred loose and was picked up by
Monett's center Michael Childress who bulled into the end zone for the extra two points and a 28-6 lead.
Monett completed the scoring on its next drive when Hall broke a 60-yard run for a score with five minutes left in the game. Aaron Aldrich kicked the extra point to give the Cubs the final 35-6 edge.
"We finally put things together in the second half," said Depée. "Our guys stuck together and kept believing. Our offensive execution was a lot better in the second half."
Reeds Spring finished with 208 yards of total offense, 87 yards rushing and 111 yards passing.
Flaugh was the leading rusher for the Wolves. He gained 52 yards on eight carries.
Monett finished with 394 yards of total offense, 313 yards rushing and 81 yards passing.
Hall gained 179 yards on 24 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 5 yards.
Blamey finished with 15 carries for 121 yards and one catch for 60 yards.
Oganesyan caught one pass for 6 yards and a score.
The Cubs will play at Cassville on Monday, Nov. 5 for the district championship and the right to advance to the quarterfinals.
"It is going to be a fight," said Depée. "Only our best effort will do."
Gates open at 5:30 p.m and Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.