Friends, foes battle Friday
Monett welcomes Mustangs
While all games are important, for the Monett football team, Friday night’s contest against McDonald County falls into the category of “must win.”
Currently, the Cubs sit in the cellar of an eight-team district pod, with the Mustangs in sixth.
A win would keep the Cubs’ vision of getting a more favorable district opponent alive, but a loss will cement Monett as the No. 8 seed.
The Cubs are coming off a game where the defense shined in a 35-6 victory over East Newton.
Offensively, while they scored 35 points, fumbles were an issue.
“I thought, defensively, we played well,” said Derrek Uhl, Monett coach. “We put the ball on the ground too much Friday. Luckily, we recovered most of them. I don’t know if it was lack of focus or conditions, but we fumbled too much.”
Uhl said whatever the issue, both the offense and defense need to be firing together on Friday against the Mustangs.
“They are big up front and have a running back that is skilled,” Uhl said. “This will be a test for our line.”
The Mustangs rely on the legs of Oakley Roessler, who has gained 1,381 yards on 186 carries and scored 16 touchdowns.
“Last year, he was our leading wide receiver,” said Kellen Hoover, McDonald County coach. “He made the transition to running back this year, and with his low center, he has been what we needed. Our line has done a great job keeping the first level guys off him, and he has the speed to break away when in the open.”
Roessler burned the Cubs last year as a receiver, and Uhl said containment and taking the right angles would be important with the Mustangs run-pass-option.
Monett fans remember Hoover was on the staff in 2016 for the Cubs’ state title game. Fans will also see another familiar face Friday, as Jedd Anderson, a 2017 graduate from Monett, is a volunteer assistant for the Mustangs.
For Hoover, he will see a side of the field that he has never coached from at Monett before.
“It will be different for sure,” Hoover said. “I still have friends that are coaches and players that I worked with over there. It’s an unusual feeling.”
Keys for Monett
• Move the beef
The Cubs’ line will be the determining factor in the contest. If Monett cannot win the battle up front, it will be tough to win the game.
The Cubs have been bitten this year by the turnover bug. They need to find a remedy before Friday.
No lead will be safe in this game for Monett. Additionally, Monett needs to win by 13-plus points to collect the bonus point. They need all those points if they want to move up in the district standings.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.