The East Newton Patriots will be traveling to Monett today to play against the Cubs football team. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on the Cubs’ new turf.

Coming off of a 44-12 loss to the Carl Junction Bulldogs, the Patriots have been practicing this week in preparation to play the Cubs.

“Obviously the same thing we work on every single week, we have got to get better with fundamentals,” said Seth Johnson, head football coach of the Patriots. “This early, every team has to do that day in and day out. We have got to get better at tackling, and we have got to get better at blocking. Those two fundamentals things are what make a successful team successful. So we have got to get better at those two aspects of the game.”

Johnson reflected on the football game against the Bulldogs.

“Dayton Clouse had two interceptions and one he was able to take back for a touchdown,” said the coach. “He had a good game, was able to get his hands on the ball there, and do something with it. That was great for us. Then obviously in the second half, we were able to make a few adjustments and get a drive going there. Our quarterback, Chance Liveoak, made a great throw, a good catch made by Aaron Millett in the end zone to get a touchdown. Granted, we were a little to short when it came on the scoreboard, but I was proud of the kids to continue the fight, coming out and getting that score in the second half. I thought that our kids played extremely hard, every snap. We are proud of the kids.”

Asked what the strengths will be for Friday’s game, Johnson said, “our strengths are the same game in and game out, I think that our strengths are our kids. The ability to play hard, and stay focused within the game, so I think that is going to be the strength of our kids.”

Johnson said the Patriots plan to bring out their running game in tonight’s contest.

“Obviously, most high school football teams will tell you the same, we have got to establish a run game,” he said. “For us to be successful, so obviously, we have got to get the ball rolling. We are working hard with our new offense that we have installed this year, to get better at it and once again, our kids are working hard to do that. Obviously, we are going to have to establish that run game early for us to have success. And obviously, we have got to throw the ball as well. Third down conversions are going to be crucial for us on Friday night. Monett is an outstanding football team, good kids and very well-coached, so we are going to have to be on the top of our game for us to be have the opportunity to win the game on Friday.”

As for Monett, Johnson said he watched them last week as well.

“They are able to throw the ball. Don’t get me wrong, I would say right now their strength from watching them last Friday night (against Seneca), they established the run game exceptionally well,” Johnson said. “They have got good backs that run the ball hard, they have got a little bit of smoke and mirrors, but they are a little bit downhill as well. Us being able to stop their running game is going to be crucial for us on Friday night.”