North Putnam head coach Greg Barrett acknowledged that in the teams' first meeting, the Cougars did a lot of damage to themselves. He noted that the team needed to finish strong and keep control of the ball.
"We just have to take care of the ball," Barrett said. "We have to have a better fourth quarter; I don't think we had a very good fourth quarter. The first half, we had a chance to put it in there and we didn't and you can't do those things against good teams like that. We have to take advantage of the opportunities we get to punch it in there, because we can't give them any momentum because they are good on both sides of the ball."
Special teams are also going to be a major factor. Barrett said the Monrovia has some big playmakers and the Cougars have talked about making sure not to allow the Bulldogs to pull off the big plays they have all season.
The Cougars plan on sticking to what they do best and just take care of the problems they have created for themselves in a few games this season. Following their initial meeting, Barrett spoke about things he saw some things he believes his team can exploit against Monrovia.
"Yeah, I think there is. It's one thing to get your option going first and we have to be able to run the ball, which is what we want to do," Barrett explained. "Then we have to take advantage of being able to throw the ball once we get them to get out of their assignments. They're a good disciplined team, so we have to make the right reads on the option because that's going to set up a lot more for us."
North Putnam is led by seniors Shawn Diebold, Steven Mitchel, Brock Jones, Darr Boruff, Kyle Adams and Tyler Osborn. Barrett spoke about how much the senior core has meant to the team. He also said he believed that this year's team is further in its progression that last year's.
"We've had a great week of practice," Barrett said. "Our six seniors that we have have done a great job. It's a testament to those guys, we know we're extremely young and I'm just happy with how those guys have responded. They're very coachable kids and that's what it takes.
"Nobody thought we would be where we're at today based on what lost last year, but I honestly think our intensity level has picked up, we're so much further ahead of where we were last year. What I mean by that, we've gotten better as the year has gone on, so that's a plus. That's something you want to do as a coach -- you want to get better every week," he added.
Guiding the Cougars will be sophomore quarterback Kolten Everts, whose ability to runs the ball as well as he throw it has cause defenses problems as season long.
"We've said all last year, we're going to go as well Kolten goes," Barrett commented. "He makes some nice runs for us. He's definitely a double threat out there for a defense. So if we can get him on the right track, but we've got a bunch of guys that can run the ball though. We've got several guys that can catch the ball, it's just a matter of getting it to those guys at the right time."
In contrast to last week, the weather is calling for 48 degrees and no rain, which is something the speedy Cougars will look to utilize to their advantage.
"We're kind of excited about that really," Barrett said. "We've played in a lot of rain this year -- everybody has. What is does, it allows us to pass more, not that we're a huge passing team, but the seven, eight, nine times we do pass in the game. We haven't had those the past couple weeks based on the weather, so we're excited about that. We'll play with whatever weather we have -- we know that have to play in the same thing.
"Our field has held up nice. We didn't think we'd get it back to where it is today, so we're excited about that. It should be a great night and a lot of fans out here," he added.
Barrett and the Cougars are expecting a full stand of raucous fans to shake Cougar Stadium tonight and ensure people that they will be in for a bruising, hard-hitting contest.
"They're going to see, on both sides of the ball, a hard hitting game I think, which is what they saw the first time," Barrett commented. "We had a great crowd that first game also. I'm sure this will be intensified a little bit now, but they're going to see two teams going at it that I would like to think are very well coached on both ends of it. These guys have put in a lot of time from the summer on and that's a great ball club we're facing, so it's different -- reversed roles for us, but I think that's great. We're excited about it.
"We've got a challenge, there's no doubt about that. We've known that from day one. It's going to be a good one," he concluded.
North Putnam will take on Monrovia tonight at 7 p.m.