"It's been a heck of a ride," said Depée. "We knew that a good team would lose here today. You came together as a team this season. You left all your effort on the field and you have no reason to hang your heads."
The Cubs entered into the Nov. 17 Class 3 semifinal game as an underdog and overlooked by many as a formidable opponent.
Don't let the final score fool you. For three and a half quarters, the Monett Cubs (10-4) gave the Bombers (14-0) and their talented players all they could handle.
Two short-field scores by the blue and yellow clad visitors late in the game inflated the point total of an extremely tight game.
"We stayed true to our game plan," said Depée. "We wanted to come out and control the clock and keep the ball away from their offense. We had several good drives. We just had trouble finishing."
Monett got the start they were seeking.
The Cubs opened the game with a 20-play drive that moved the ball from the Cubs' 20-yard line to the Bombers 31 and erased 9:15 of the first quarter clock.
However, a sack on third down and an interception on fourth down ended the Cubs scoring threat and gave the Bombers the ball at their 28.
The John Burroughs backfield featured the state's top recruit, Ezekiel Elliott, who verbally committed to play for Ohio State University.
Elliot, who had only two games this season where he carried the ball over 20 times, gained 18 yards on his first two carries of the series. However, a delay of game penalty and a sack by Monett senior Reese Bounous forced the Bombers to punt.
Monett was three and out on its next series and a Cameron Witt punt pinned Burroughs at it own 6.
Elliott then showed his athleticism by ripping off gains of 26, 30 and 32 yards on the drive, giving the Bombers a 7-0 lead with 8:08 left in the first half.
The Cubs struggled with John Burroughs' defensive speed on their next drive. The Bombers began to take away Monett's dive plays and quick tosses.
The purple and gold countered with a quick pass to Kurran Blamey, but missed an opportunity when a long bomb from Monett quarterback Kyle Woods fell through the hands of a Cubs' receiver.
The 7-0 Burroughs's lead held as the teams went to the locker rooms for the intermission.
The Bombers started the second half primed and ready to take charge of the game. Monett's Purple Haze defense had other plans.
Burroughs began its first series on the 24. Four Elliott runs netted 27 yards and advanced the ball to the Cubs' 47. The fifth run by the highly touted runner ended with the Cubs stripping the ball. Bounous jumped on the loose ball.
The Cubs quickly picked up a first down on two runs by Aaron Hall but had to settle for a punt.
Burroughs had two back to back quarterback-to-running-back exchanges with fumbles. Then a key fourth down tackle on Elliot gave the Cubs the ball back at midfield.
Monett gave the ball back to the Bombers three plays later on a fumble at the Burroughs' 46 with 3:45 left in the third.
The purple and gold defense pinned their ears back and forced a punt after three plays, but the good field position that Monett had enjoyed the entire game was flipped.
Starting at their own 16, Monett squeezed out a first down with three plays, but lost 10 yards on a sack in their next set of downs. Witt's punt reached the Bombers' 42.
With 10:28 left in the fourth quarter, and the score still in favor of the visitors at 7-0, John Burroughs marched 58 yards in six plays, converting two third downs. Elliott scored from 22 yards out to give the visitors a 14-0 edge.
Disaster struck Monett on the first play of its next series when Woods bobbled the snap. The Bombers jumped on the loose ball.
Four plays later, Elliott barreled into the end zone from 10 yards out to lift the score to 21-0 with 6:44 remaining.
The deficit forced the Cubs to put the ball in the air. A turnover on downs gave the ball to Burroughs at the Monett 16.
A 9-yard catch by Foye Oluokun raised the score to 28-0 with 3:19 left in the game.
Monett wouldn't back down. The senior leadership, which had carried this team to unimaginable heights this season, showed its pride as the Cubs took over on their 20 with 3:19 left.
Runs by Hall, Blamey, Matt Murphy and a catch by Devon Overall moved the ball to the Burroughs' 9-yard line. On the next play, Hall rumbled into the end zone for a Monett touchdown.
"During the summer we challenged our seniors to step up and lead this team," said Depée. "We could have hung our heads, but we marched down and got a score to end the game. These seniors became leaders over the last 14 weeks."
After the game, John Burroughs knew they had been in a battle.
"By far they were the most aggressive defense we faced all season," said Bombers' coach Gus Frerotte. "We have some very sore players and are just happy to get out of here with a win. Coach Depée is building something special here in the community."
John Burroughs finished the game with 324 yards of total offense, 238 yards rushing and 86 yards passing.
Elliott rushed the ball 27 times for 237 yards and three scores.
Jake Wood had three catches for 78 yards, and Oluokun finished with three catches for 28 yards.
Monett totaled 196 offensive yards, 138 rushing and 58 yards in the air.
Hall ran for 76 yards on 21 carries. Blamey totaled 57 yards on 12 totes and Murphy finished with 5 yards on four running attempts.
Woods was five of 13 passing for 58 yards.
Overall and Nicky Roberts caught two passes each for 25 and 19 yards respectively. Blamey had one catch for 14 yards.
"The boys gave me everything they had today," said Depée. "That's all I asked of them. 2012 is a season we will all remember."
In his closing remarks to his players, Coach Depée and his staff made one thing perfectly clear to their gridiron squad.
"We can walk away from this field with our heads held high. The seniors have left a legacy and we know how hard we have to work to get back to this spot," said Depée. "Gentlemen, we love you dearly and are proud of you."