"The Cubs feature more depth on the offensive and defensive lines than they possessed a year ago. The lines must develop cohesion and work as a unit to be successful. This Cubs' team goes as far as the line takes them."
The remarks were based on a conversation that took place with offensive line coach Derek Uhl in early July.
"I had set the bar pretty high for the guys on the line," said Uhl. "For the most part we have been able to two-platoon players this season. Early on in the season it was hard to see impact but I think it has really benefitted our team, especially in the playoffs."
Monett's offensive line consists of Reese Bounous, Cristian Romero, Fernando Salas, Michael Childress, Matt Wentz and Devon Overall.
The Cubs' offensive line has steadily improved with each game. When you ask them about their motivation to succeed, it boils down to one word: pride.
"We take pride in protecting our quarterback and creating openings for our backs," said Romero. "They are counting on us to do our job. To me, there is nothing better than pulling out around the end and getting a running start to hit somebody."
Monett has gained 3,177 team-rushing yards this season.
"We can definitely tell a difference from the Mt. Vernon game until now," said running back Kurran Blamey. "Each week we are gaining more confidence. When we played Cassville the second time, you could really see their effort in full effect."
Monett's leading rusher echoed his teammates words.
"It was really nice to see huge holes to run through against Eldon," said Aaron Hall. "When the play comes into the huddle it becomes a trust issue. I trust that there will be a hole for me to run through. I couldn't have had any success without their effort and hard work."
The growth and maturity of the lines is what has stuck out in all the coach's minds.
"We talk every week about getting better than we were the week before," said Monett head coach Chad Depée. "We have now had an extra month of football. These boys just keep getting the job done. After the Lamar game, we could have thrown in the towel. The lines used that game as motivation to get better, and from the second half of the Reeds Spring game you have seen a very confident unit take the field."
Uhl stated that the linemen would all make great coaches.
"They are smart kids," said Uhl. "They know when they make a mistake on the field and they immediately set out to fix it before a coach talks to them."
As good as the offensive line has performed for the Cubs, the defensive line of Bounous, Aaron Aldrich, Nick Childress and Dezmond Bradford has been equally as good.
"I try to lead by example," said Bounous. "I hope that my play inspires the rest of the team. Our focus all season has been on growing closer together and believing we can accomplish our goals."
In the last three games, the stingy Monett defense has only allowed 18 total points.
"The defensive line play has been tremendous in the post-season," said Monett defensive coordinator Jim Genzler. "They have got the job done up front and set the tone for the game. We really haven't had to blitz very much in the last few games because the line has disrupted things so much up front. With each game they just get better and better."
The defensive line doesn't seek glory and rarely do they get the same attention that the skill positions achieve. The fact that they don't share the limelight doesn't bother them.
"My job is to plug the running lanes and let the linebackers make the play," said Bradford. "It means everything to me to still be playing. I know that if I do my job we will be successful. I really challenged myself to get better after the Mt. Vernon game. I don't want to have any regrets about my effort after the season is over."
Even though the Cubs don't possess an abundance of size, their heart and determination is second to none.
"We try to be as physical as possible," said Nick Childress. "We saw what we were capable of against Reeds Spring and Cassville. The goal for us is to play every game at that high level and continue to improve."
Monett will need a great game from its lines to advance in the playoffs. If the past is any indication of what is to come, they will make Cub Nation proud.