By Brennan Stebbins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
How long has it been since Monett beat Lamar in football?
“I think I was 8-years-old,” said quarterback Karter Brink, who’s now a senior in high school.
“My daughter wasn’t even born,” said head coach Derrek Uhl. “My daughter’s eight so she hasn’t seen us beat them and neither have my boys.”
They don’t have to wait any longer.
Brink accounted for two touchdowns and Monett earned a convincing 28-7 home win on Friday against Class 2 No. 4 Lamar, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Tigers.
“It feels great,” he said. “It’s been forever since we beat them. To be a part of it is just awesome. Even if you’re a freshman, it’s just a great feeling to beat those guys.”
“It’s huge,” Uhl said. “It’s a great program, they do a great job. It’s a mental thing sometimes and for our kids to get over that mental part of it, this is huge for us. You beat a good opponent at home.”
It was Oct. 9, 2009 when the Cubs last beat Lamar, 28-21. Monett hasn’t even been closer than 15 points since 2011.
But on Friday the Cubs were in control – especially in the second half.
Monett shook off a pair of fumbles and a turnover on downs in the red zone and never had to punt. The Cubs tried to, once, but Ethan Umfleet couldn’t corral the long snap and ran for dear life. After breaking a handful of tackles, he was finally brought down after gaining 17 yards and a first down.
“It was huge and it was kind of an amazing play really because there were guys all around him and he was able to shimmy and shake and get the first down,” Uhl said. “I think he was so mad that he dropped the punt that he didn’t want to be responsible for that so he ended up getting the first down and that was huge.”
It led to a 1-yard Brink touchdown with 10:23 left in the game that made it 20-7. Brink said he thought then that Monett was going to win it.
“Their fans stopped hollering and whooping,” he said.
Two plays later Monett defensive back JR Cavazos intercepted a pass deep in Lamar territory, leading to a 2-yard Brandon Majors touchdown and a Jamie Guinn two-point conversion run for the final score.
It didn’t always look so easy for the Cubs.
Monett fumbled at the Lamar 35-yard line on its first drive of the game, leading to a 13-play scoring drive by the visitors capped by a 15-yard Wyatt Hull touchdown on a reverse. It remained 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Cubs drove to the Lamar 16 before turning it over on downs on their second possession, but forced a Lamar punt that set them up with great field position, a common theme on Friday.
After big runs by Umfleet and Jamie Guinn, Brink threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Umfleet to tie the game with 5:05 left in the half.
Lamar then fumbled at its own 18 and Aleks Salas nailed a 32-yard field goal with 2:48 remaining to give the Cubs a lead going into the half.
Salas added a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 13-7.
“He was huge and his confidence is going to grow from this,” Uhl said. “He shows he can hit 47-yarders. We haven’t always had that in the past so it is definitely something that’s going to help us down the road.”
Aside from the scoring drive in the first quarter, and a 68-yard drive that ended in a missed field goal before halftime, Lamar’s offense struggled most of the night. Sometimes it was penalties, other times turnovers. In the second half alone Lamar punted twice, turned it over twice and came up short on a fourth down.
“Defense played great the whole game,” Brink said.
Uhl admitted he was somewhat taken by surprise by the game’s final margin.
“I thought we’d come in and compete with these guys, that’s what I thought going into it,” he said. “I’d say yeah it did a little bit. I’d say, too, I don’t know if they were used to being down and that kind of played into our hands a little bit.”
Lamar dropped to 3-1 with the win. Monett improved to 2-2.