By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Monett football coach Chad Depee was just another fan in the stands at the 2011 Show-Me Bowl in St. Louis.
He watched as Rogersville came away with a 21-14 victory in the Class 3 championship game, with no way of knowing he was getting a preview of his team’s opponent Saturday in the Class 3 semifinals.
John Burroughs, state runner-up the past two years, faces Monett at 1:30 p.m. at Burl Fowler Stadium in Monett.
“It’s great to be in the middle of November and still practicing,” Depee said. “The weather has been great and the kids are excited about playing another game on a Saturday and playing John Burroughs.”
Monett (10-3) defeated Eldon 49-6 in last Saturday’s quarterfinal game at Monett, while John Burroughs (13-0) defeated Central 24-0 at Park Hills.
Depee was at the Edward Jones Dome last November when running back Ezekiel Elliott of John Burroughs rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Elliott, 6-foot, 205 pounds, has made a verbal commitment to play football for Ohio State.
This season, Elliott has more than 2,000 total yards rushing and receiving and has scored 44 touchdowns.
“Ezekiel Elliott is a tremendous talent along with several others. They’re not just a one-man team,” Depee said. “Their quarterback (Nicholas Duncan, a 6-1, 175-pound junior) can spread the ball out and they have several receivers who can catch the ball. On defense, you don’t even have to look at video. Just look at the scores of their games.”
The Bombers, who have allowed a touchdown or less in eight games, are coached by former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte.They have been No. 1 in the state poll all season.
Monett has allowed a touchdown or less in eight games as well and has held its last three opponents to a total of 18 points.
“Our defense has played very well down the stretch,” Depee said. “Offensively, we need to do what we do. We need to be able to run the ball and get first downs and score when we get the chance.
“If we can put those two together and play solid special teams, we’ve done what we can and we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
Monett’s three-pronged attack on offense is designed around running back Aaron Hall, quarterback Kyle Woods and receiver Kurran Blamey, who at times lines up in the backfield.
Hall, a 180-pound senior, has rushed for 1,450 yards and 15 touchdowns. Blamey, a 190-pound senior, has 24 receptions for 585 yards, has rushed for 941 yards and has a total of 18 touchdowns.
Woods, a 6-2, 175-pound senior, threw just three passes against Eldon, but one was a 50-yarder to Blamey that gave Monett a 21-0 first-quarter lead.
On defense, Monett is led by seniors Reese Bounous at defensive end, Matt Murphy at linebacker and Blamey at defensive back. All three were first team all-Big 8 Conference selections.
Monett advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Cassville 10-6 for the district championship
“We play lights out every play, just like when we played Cassville,” Bounous said after the Eldon game. “They had to earn every inch.”
Monett has qualified for the playoffs 12 times, but this is its first semifinal appearance since 1977. The Cubs won Class 2A state championships in 1977 and 1971.