Cubs look to defend rivalry hardware

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monett needs more players to step up

While a three-game skid has damped the spirits of the defending Class 3 state champion, Monett (2-3) travels to Cassville on Friday with everything in the world to prove.

The Wildcats (3-2) are fresh off a beatdown of St. James, 33-6, while the Cubs suffered their third consecutive loss in a row a 46-10 setback to Aurora.

If a person looked solely at the final scores of ball games, they would think that Monett has no chance to win on Friday.

After all, the vaunted Purple Haze defense has surrendered 97 points in the last two games and the Cubs offense has only scratched together 10 meager points.

Monett was blasted by Lamar, 51-0, and the final against the Houn’ Dawgs was not indicative of how close the game was.

Monett’s problem has been taking advantage of gifted situations.

Against Aurora, Monett had first and goal at the 3- and 1-yard lines, but only scored a combined 3 points.

Five times, the Cubs had the Houn’ Dawgs in third-and-10 or longer situations, but allowed a first down.

“Right now, it is mental mistakes that are hurting,” said Derrek Uhl, Monett coach. “I thought we fixed several things that we did wrong from the Lamar game. But we need more players to step up.”

Graduation depleted the Cubs of 15 starters from last year’s team. Health issues and injuries have cost them three more, but the Cubs coaching staff will not use that as an excuse.

Uhl has said that the onus of getting his team ready to play is on the coaches and players.

“The only ones that can fix it are in this circle,” Uhl told his team after the Aurora game. “We have to get better. We will get better.”

When it comes to scouting the Wildcats this season, Uhl knows the Lance Parnell-coached team like the back of his hand. Uhl coached most of the players in middle school at Cassville.

“The juniors and seniors on that team are good,” Uhl said. “Lance has done a great job bringing them along, and we know it will be a battle.”

Quarterback Shannon Haney leads the Wildcats with 429 yards rushing and 296 yards passing and 8 total touchdowns.

Anthony Tolbert is second on the team with 409 yards rushing.

Keys for Monett

• Get the ball rolling

At times this season, the Cubs have shown flashes of being a solid team. Against Aurora, they moved the ball well at times. If they can sustain drives they can compete on Friday.

• Control the front

This game is going to be won or lost in the trenches. If Monett controls the line and forces Cassville to throw, it favors the Cubs. If the Wildcats can run the ball and not have to rely on passing, they have the advantage. It sounds simple, but it is the truth.

• Take advantage

Monett must be able to take advantage of any and all of Cassville’s mistakes. Failure to do so will not lead to a favorable outcome.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Season stats

CassvilleMonett
131Points77
1,503Total yards1,344
1,114Rushing676
389Passing668
46Completion %54
5Turnovers7
4Interceptions3
1Fumbles4
222.8YPG Rushing133
77.8YPG Passing134
35.5Net Punt Avg.37.9

Team Leaders

Rushing

Cassville: Shannon Haney, 23-429, 5 TDs; Anthony Tolbert, 66-409, 7 TDs

Monett: Patrick Valentine, 59-270, 6 TDs; William Murphy, 54-262, 0 TDs

Passing

Cassville: Shannon Haney, 25-52-296, 3 TDs

Monett: Karter Brink, 42-71-527, 0 TDs

Receiving

Cassville: D.J. White, 6-134, 2 TDs; Bowen Preddy, 10-122, 2TDs

Monett: Cody Thompson, 12-225; Jedd Anderson, 11-215

Defense

Cassville: Wyatt Goade, 46 tackles, 34 unassisted tackles, 1 sack; Garret Knight, 29 tackles, 26 unassisted tackles, 4 tackles for loss

Monett: J.R. Villa, 31 tackles, 16 unassisted tackles, 1.5 sacks Patrick Valentine: 35 tackles, 18 unassisted tackles

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