Class 3 District 4 championship: Cubs, Wolves to battle for title
Monett aims to play spoiler role at Reeds Spring
For the second time in three years, the Monett football team has a chance to claim a district football crown.
For the Wolves of Reeds Spring, a district title would be the first under the new eight-team format.
Two years ago, it was the Cubs who waltzed into Wolves Stadium and left with a convincing, 35-6 win.
This year, the teams are playing for the Class 3, District 4 title.
Reeds Spring's lone loss was to Bolivar in Week 9. Monett's has two blemishes, one each to Lamar and Carl Junction, both of which are playing for district titles of their own on Friday.
The Wolves were a bit of a surprise to most in the Central Ozarks Conference (small division) this season. Losing two large classes of seniors had decimated their experience, and most pundits thought they would be a middle of the pack team.
With a first year head coach in Lance Gosch, things, to the outside observer, did not look promising.
"Our seniors have been the key to our success this season," Gosch said. "From the first summer meeting they made it their goal to continue to build upon the tradition that had been established."
Still, some may criticize the ease of the Wolves schedule.
Reeds Spring's nine regular season foes finished the season with a combined record of 26-55 (29 winning percent). Monett's schedule was a little tougher, with teams finishing 36-45 (44 winning percent).
The Wolves faced just one team in the regular season with a winning record in Bolivar. Monett played four: Aurora, Cassville, Lamar and Carl Junction. Still, credit must be given to the Wolves for winning no matter who they faced.
"When you watch them on film, they look like us and what we try to do," said Chad Depee, Monett coach. "They like to run option and get wide. They have a couple of backs with some speed. It will be a test to stop them."
Depee also noted that Reeds Spring is not afraid to run power and then use the play-action pass to go over the top.
The Wolves rely on the legs of Dalton Pomeroy, who has rushed for 1,196 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
"Dalton has carried the load for us," Gosch said. "But, we have some other guys who have stepped in to give us balance."
Depee noted that the current Reeds Spring offense is very similar to the one Monett faced two years ago. That is, in large part, to due to the fact that even though Gosch is in his first season as head coach, he has been on the Wolves' staff for four years.
One thing that Gosch pointed out as a concern is Monett's defensive speed.
"They fly to the ball and pursue about as well as any team we've watched on film," he said. "They get multiple players to the ball and don't let up."
While it's easy to point to the defense and its success, what Monett has done on offense has gone unnoticed but been effective.
Depee, who has been view as a conservative play caller, has opened up the playbook this season.
The Cubs have employed a running-back-by-committee approach. No ball carrier for the purple and gold has more than 500-yards rushing, yet Monett has scored 47 rushing touchdown.
Getting Kedrick Brick back from an early season injury has opened up the passing game even more.
Quarterback Zack Hammond has completed 15 of 17 passes in the last two games and thrown four touchdowns.
"We've tried to move the ball down the field any way we can," Depee said. "We have speed and we need the ball in our playmakers hands."
Keys for Monett
* Clog it up: Reeds Spring loves to run wide. However, with Monett's speed they may elect to pound it between the tackles. If the Cubs can clog the middle and force them wide, they will have an advantage with their defensive speed.
* No mental mistakes: Monett has been good at getting turnovers and creating short fields for their offense. The Cubs need to continue this trend.
* Win the first two drives: Monett needs to send a message by scoring on their first drive and stopping Reeds Spring on its.
* Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.