Monett takes lessons into Week 3

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Isaac Ticknor (No. 77) and Ethan Umfleet (No. 25) combine to block a Houn’ Dawg Friday. Rebecca Merriman/Special to The Monett Times

Cubs dial in on finishing drives, ending opponents’ drives

There are two main objectives to achieve to win a football game — score when you have the ball and stop the other team when you don’t — and though it may seem basic, those are the focuses for Monett this week.

The Cubs (0-2) led Aurora at halftime last week, but they ultimately came up short in a 36-18 loss that Head Coach Derrek Uhl said could have been different with one play.

Konner Poynter looks for a hole to exploit for the Cubs during Friday’s loss to Aurora on the road. Rebecca Merriman/Special to The Monett Times

“We had a crucial drive in the second half after they took the lead,” he said. “We drove all the way to the 2-yard line, then we stalled out. I feel if we had scored there, it would have changed the dynamic of the game.”

Finishing drives is becoming a centerpiece of Monett’s practice plan, as Uhl said that drive made three red zone visits in two games without points.

“When you get to the 2, you have to run the football and get those yards,” he said. We have to be more physical and take pride in getting the ball into the end zone in those situations. If we get into the red zone, we need to finish.”

Konner Poynter takes down an Aurora runner during the loss to the Houn’ Dawgs on Friday. Rebecca Merriman/Special to The Monett Times

Likewise, Uhl said the Cubs have to start doing to other teams what was done to them — stop the run.

“Aurora did a good job holding the ball,” Uhl said. “They only threw one pass all game and they ran the clock. We only had a few opportunities to score, and that drive to the 2 was one of them.

“We have to get other teams off the field, make them punt and throw the football. Aurora was able to get yards without throwing it.”

Monett quarterback Daven Madrid skips past a would-be tackler during Friday’s contest. Rebecca Merriman/Special to The Monett Times

Monett hopes to tally a tick in the win column this week with East Newton coming to town, but Uhl knows it won’t be easy. The Patriots are coming off a 21-1 win over Mt. Vernon, and last year, they took the Cubs to overtime and Monett took a pitch into the end zone for 2 to pull off the win.

“They got a win last week, and that’s big for them,” Uhl said. “So, they are playing with confidence, but we keep things about us. We have to get a week better. We did that from Week 1 to Week 2, and we have to see some big improvement from Week 2 to Week 3.”

Uhl said a focus this week again will be tackling.

“Last week, we did quite a bit of live tackling in practice,” he said. “It’s just something we have to keep repping to help our defense get them off the chains and get the offense the ball.”

Offensively, Monett’s attack is varied this season, with seven total Cubs getting touches against the Houn’ Dawgs.

“Going into this year, we wanted to get more guys involved in the run game,” Uhl said. “Last season, the same guys ran the ball a lot and were getting beat up, so this year we are spreading it out more to keep us healthy.”

Quarterback Daven Madrid led in yards against Aurora with 47 on 13 carries. Ethan Umfleet carried 7 times for 19 yards, Corbin McCully had 6 for 28, Rhyn Withnell had 6 for 22, Konner Poynter had 5 for 15, and Diego Badon and Dylan Gorman combined for 3 carries and 6 yards.

The big contributions for Monett on Friday came through the air, as Madrid went 9-for-26 for 248 yards and a touchdown. Umfleet caught 6 balls for 207 yards and the score. Three other receivers reeled in a pass each.

Kickoff against East Newton on Friday is at 7 p.m.

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