Cubs on the rising tide

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Monett takes huge step in Week 2

Often, the big step in growth and development for a team occurs from Week 1 to Week 2 in the season.

The reason for that is that a team generally feels its way through its first game, and the coaches can get an exact read on what they need to address in the following week of practice.

While that definition may be an over-simplification, there is no doubt that the Monett football team (1-1) figured some things out in a 49-20 win over Marshfield on Friday.

“Offensively, it was a team effort,” said Derrek Uhl, Monett coach. “We were able to get a lot of kids involved and to go out and respond the way we did in Week 2 was very encouraging.”

The Cubs scored on every possession but one in the first half.

A strength for the team this season has been the play of the offensive and defensive lines.

“We put a lot of work in the offseason and worked on getting better,” said Wesley Merriman, Cubs lineman. “It’s pretty fun when you get the offensive line running and you get to block downhill.”

Uhl pointed to the fact that the Cubs have two three-year starters and two two-year starters anchoring the lines this season.

“Experience on the line has been a big key for us,” Uhl said. “I think they are comfortable with the system we run and comfortable with each other. Granted, we have played two passing-type offenses in the first two weeks, and both teams have struggled to run the ball against us.”

As the Cubs prepare to play Cassville in the annual Barry County Brawl on Friday, Uhl and the Cubs are keen to the foe that they will face.

“It looks like they just picked up where they left off last season,” Uhl said. “They have a good quarterback [in Deven Bates], Bowen Preddy is quick and tough to bring down at running back, and Zach Coenen runs the ball hard. Plus, they move D.J White all around the field to use his speed. We have to know where he is at all times.”

Uhl said if he could take one thing away from the Wildcats on Friday it would be the “Big Play.”

Four times in the first two games, the Wildcats have scored from 20 yards or farther out, and they have at least six plays for 20 or more yards.

The most telling stat for the Wildcats this season is that they have not punted in the first two games. That is correct — zero punts.

“We have to improve on our tackling on defense,” Uhl said. “It is assignment football, and if you miss a tackle, it could go for a big play.”

Monett keys to the game

• Get off the field

Cassville has yet to punt this season. If the Cubs do not rectify that statistical anomaly, the Barry County Brawl trophy will not be leaving the Wildcats’ trophy case.

• Where is the beef

This game will be won or lost in the trenches. The Cubs must disrupt the option attack at the line of scrimmage and force the Wildcats to throw the ball to win.

• Who has the ball

Monett was able to get multiple players into action on Friday and have them become major contributors. Look for the Cubs to attack Cassville with multiple looks and with everything they have in the playbook. Uhl always has one or two wrinkles to throw at his opposition.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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