Thirteen unanswered points and a will of iron fueled a state championship win.
Monett came from behind in the fourth quarter Saturday to defeat Maryville 27-18 to win the Class 3 Missouri State High School Activities Association Show-Me Bowl at Plaster Stadium in Springfield. It is Monett’s third football state championship and the Cubs’ first state title since 1977.
Monett quarterback Ian Meyer rushed 12 times for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He was 6-of-14 passing for 63 yards and a touchdown pass to tight end Alex Turner.
“I’m still shocked. I’m still processing that we just won the state championship, because it’s always been a dream, I’m guessing, for all of us here. It’s always been a dream,” Meyer said.
Monett lost its fourth game of the season to Class 2 state champion Lamar on Sept. 9. The Cubs proceeded to close the season with an 11-game winning streak. Senior running back Michael Branch rushed for 2,129 yards and 29 touchdowns.
“It just shows how hard we actually worked,” Branch said. “It wasn’t easy. We came here, we had to fight every single fight, win our little battles out on the field, and we just did.”
Maryville took an 18-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, then forced Monett to punt. The Cubs defense made a stand of its own to force Maryville to punt. A snap over the head of Spoofhounds punter Jacob Reuter set off a scramble that ended with Monett linebacker Onis Howard sticking a tackle on the Maryville 1-yard line.
“It was pretty great. I was surprised that it went over his head. When it went over, I was full blast and I wasn’t slowing down,” Howard said.
Meyer scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run.
The Cubs added another touchdown in the fourth quarter on Meyer’s 10-yard pass to Turner. The Cubs ran a trick play in which Meyer feigned a throw to offensive tackle Aiden Brown, but turned and threw the ball back across the field to Turner.
Monett coach Derek Uhl explained the unusual play.
“That play was called ‘Iron Bowl,’ and it turned out to be like an iron fist,” Uhl said. “When we hit that play, I started tearing up. I really did.”
Uhl then admitted that the decision to go for a touchdown on fourth down in the red zone wasn’t his idea.
“These kids are so confident. They come to me, I’ll tell you, they actually said, ‘Let’s run Iron Bowl,’ and I’m like, ‘Let’s do it. We’re here to win a game,’” Uhl said.
The Cubs handed Maryville just its third loss in the past four seasons. Maryville coach Matt Webb called the defensive game a “chess match” in his postgame press conference.
“First and foremost, that was a heck of a football game. You give 100 percent credit to the Monett Cubs, they went out and they made the plays to win the football game,” Webb said.
Mason Swearingen, Jedd Anderson and Brody Crawford each had interceptions for the Cubs. Maryville quarterback Trey Oglesby was hit as he threw two of the interceptions by Monett defenders.
“Right now it’s disappointing. You don’t want to lose the state championship,” Oglesby said. “Coach touched on when we got in our huddle, ‘Don’t let this define you. One loss doesn’t define you,’ and certainly, we’re just in high school.”
Monett celebrated the high school football career of Angel Villalta when Meyer took a knee on the final play of the game. Villalta tore an ACL in the loss to Lamar in September but was fully dressed out in uniform to take the field to stand for the final play of his senior year.
“I’m glad I had a coach like that, that would do something for me. It’s something I’m never going to forget,” Villalta said.
Uhl was happy for Villalta to appear in the state championship game as a senior.
“He’s been a huge inspiration, just the fact that he’s a leader even though he’s not there playing,” Uhl said of Villalta.
2016 Class 3 MSHSAA Show-Me Bowl
Monett 27, Maryville 18
At Plaster Stadium, Springfield
Monett—Ian Meyer 2-yard run (Cameron Cody kick)
Maryville—Spencer Morrison 10-yard pass from Trey Oglesby (kick failed)
Maryville—John Zimmerman 40-yard pass from Oglesby (pass failed)
Monett—Michael Branch 5-yard run (Cody kick)
Maryville—Eli Dowis 5-yard run (pass failed)
Monett—Ian Meyer 2-yard run (kick failed)
Monett—Alex Turner 11-yard pass from Meyer (Cody kick)