Braggin’ rights on the line

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Monett seeks season’s 1st win at Brawl

In today’s world of on-demand programming, fast food and instant satisfaction, it is easy to forget that lasting things often take time and patience to build.

For the Monett football team (0-2), building a young program is proof that a bit more patience is needed.

Against Marshfield, the Cubs showed a tremendous amount of growth from Week 1 to Week 2.

“I thought our defense, especially in the first half, was aggressive,” said Derrek Uhl, Monett coach. “I felt both of our quarterbacks ran the ball better. For being four weeks into this offense, we saw a ton more positives.”

Still, for all the steps forward, there were still steps the team has yet to take.

The Cubs took a 23-13 lead into halftime, but the Blue Jays took the opening kickoff of the second half, marched 90 yards and chewed off nearly seven minutes of the clock.

“We gave up some big plays on defense and turned the ball over at inopportune times,” Uhl said. “It would have been nice to get off the field on the first drive of the second half, but we had a penalty that gave them third-and-1 and they converted. You have to give them credit.”

Monett does have something cooking with its wings on offense.

Jamie Guinn took the opening pitch of the game and rushed 80 yards for a score. Later in the first half, he broke off a 36-yard jaunt for another touchdown. In week one, he scored the Cubs’ lone points with a 72-yard carry.

Freshman Ethan Umfleet, Monett’s other wing, dazzled the Cubs faithful with a 38-yard punt return through traffic and 37-yard field goal.

“Jamie, at top speed, is as fast as anyone we play,” Uhl said. “He and Ethan both can be those big hitters on offense. Ethan is unbelievable, even if he was a senior, you would still say that about him.”

Guinn believes that Monett is about to turn the corner.

“We have to go in and be explosive,” Guinn said. “We practice how we play. I felt like we had a chance [Friday].

“My role is I play for my brother and do it for God and them. We definitely have something going for us. It is just mental mistakes we have to fix ourselves. We get that down, we’ll be a good team.”

Monett now turns its attention to the annual rivalry with Cassville, dubbed The Barry County Brawl.

“Personally, I know a lot of guys over there,” Guinn said. “I love Cassville. I love the atmosphere. I love the Barry County Brawl. It is going to be a good one, we just have to fix our mistakes.”

Both coaches said the same thing about this year’s game in that the records do not matter when it comes to a rivalry.

“I know we are 0-2,” Uhl said. “But our kids are getting better and we are playing our rival. Come Friday, they will be ready to play.”

Uhl, who spent one season on the staff at Cassville, is familiar with the Wildcats seniors and was complimentary of their play.

“Their offensive line is a big group,” Uhl said. “They are more balanced this year and lining up in the I-back formation more. I haven’t seen that [as much] since [David] Large was there. On defense, Lance [Parnell] has all his guys playing the way he wants and he doesn’t have to gamble.”

Cassville shut down Springfield Catholic’s Tyson Riley, one of the top running backs in the area last week in a 34-7 win.

A week after rushing for 281 yards against Seneca, Riley was limited to just 106 yards on the ground.

Still, stats mean little in this rivalry. Both coaches agreed there were times when, according to stats, there was a clear favorite, only to see the underdog play at a higher level.

Keys for the Cubs

• Forward momentum

Monett must stay ahead of the chains on Friday. The Wildcats defensive line will be the biggest, size-wise, the Cubs have faced this season. Monett must keep the down to third and manageable yardage.

• Ball security

This should be a given, but the Cubs have had six turnovers in their first two ball games. Monett can not afford to give the Wildcats free possessions.

• Four quarters strong

Monett dominated Marshfield for the first two quarters. Even the Blue Jays coach admired the team’s tenacity. Still, two quarters was not enough to get the win. Monett must put together 48 solid minutes Friday if it wants to hoist and host the Brawl trophy once more.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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