By Calen VanNess (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
There are very few things more exciting to a community than the high school football home-opener. The stadium buzzes with excitement and anticipation, and the hope of a successful season is on the mind of the hometown faithful. It was clear this was the case in Marshfield on Friday night as the fans packed the stadium in hopes of seeing their Blue Jays defeat the Monett Cubs for the second straight year. The Cubs, however, were ready to wreck their party.
It took only three minutes into the first quarter for Monett (1-1) to score their first touchdown on a 33-yard completion by senior quarterback Karter Brink to senior Jamie Guinn. That was only the beginning, as the Cubs did not look back en route to a dominating 49-20 victory.
Brink had an efficient first half as he went 5-for-7 through the air for 185 yards and three touchdowns. He took none of the credit, however, and was quick to give credit to his receivers and offensive line for his big night.
“My receivers are great and made great catches,” said Brink. “My line played great, and I had time in the pocket. They give me a lot of time, and it makes me feel comfortable back there.”
Early in the second quarter, Brink connected with sophomore running back Ethan Umfleet for an 85-yard touchdown pass that put Monett in the lead 26-6. The end zone became familiar territory for Umfleet as he crossed the goal line on three separate occasions.
“We played well, in particular our offense,” said Monett head coach Derrek Uhl about the game. “We did a good job of distributing the ball. In the run game, we had four different guys that were touching the ball and making plays, which allowed us to hit some big passes.”
He was also quick to credit his defense for containing Marshfield’s athletic senior quarterback Brennan Espy.
“Our defense played well, too” said Uhl. “Going into it, we knew their quarterback was a great athlete, and we had to make sure he didn’t make a lot of plays.”
Although Espy had a respectable game through the air as he went 10-for-17 for 221 passing yards and one touchdown, the Cubs completely stopped him in the running game as he was only able to muster five yards on nine carries.
The Blue Jays (1-1) tried to keep it close early as Espy connected with senior wideout Thomas Mcillwain on an eight-yard touchdown pass to make it a 13-6 Monett lead late in the first quarter. Monett would not let Marshfield get any closer, though, as the Cubs answered with a touchdown of their own on a five-play, 58-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Aleks Salas that put the Cubs up 20-6.
Monett hopes that this game will carry over into next week and beyond.
“I believe these kids feel like [the momentum will carry over],” said Uhl. “We needed a big game like this to build our confidence.”
After last week’s heartbreaker, Uhl was excited that his kids pulled out a huge win.
“I thought we played well enough to win that game,” said Uhl of Monett’s loss to Mount Vernon last Friday night. “The kids know they played well enough to win that game, so today we got that bad taste out of our mouth.”
Brink echoed his coach.
“We were hungry for a win,” said Brink after the game. “[Last week’s game] hurt a lot. We really wanted that win, so this one feels great.”
Marshfield looks to turn things around next week when they travel to Mount Vernon, while the Cubs hope to make it two wins in a row as they travel to Cassville.
Monett 49, Marshfield 20
Monett 20 16 7 6
Marshfield 6 6 0 8
Monett – Guinn 33 catch from Brink (Guinn kick)
Monett – Umfleet 32 run (kick failed)
Marshfield – Mcillwain 9 catch from Espy (kick failed)
Monett – Brink 17 run (Salas kick)
Monett – Umfleet 85 catch from Espy (kick failed)
Marshfield – Kanengieter 5 rush (conversion failed)
Monett – Salas 16 field goal
Monett – McCollough 20 catch from Brink (Salas kick)
Monett – Umfleet 30 rush (Salas kick)
Monett – McCully 26 rush (kick failed)
Marshfield – Safety
Marshfield – Jones 7 catch from Anderson (conversion failed)