Centralia undefeated, beats Monroe City, 27-24
A pale gold half-moon shined down over Monroe City’s Lankford field and illuminated Centralia’s 27-24 nail-biter of a win over the Monroe City Panthers.
After last week’s games, Centralia’s 33-0 shutout over Brookfield and Monroe City’s 59-6 loss to South Shelby, the score was likely closer than either team’s fans expected, win or lose.
The game did no start to Centralia’s taste.
Monroe City took the kickoff and crunched down the field with a series of short runs, scoring their first touchdown with their first pass a 19-yarder followed by a two-point conversion to put them up 8-0.
Centralia answered quickly with Centralia Quarterback Cullen Bennett driving through the Monroe city line from one yard out to make it 8-7 after a successful Anthony Ford extra point kick.
From there it was a “you hit me, I hit you,” ground and pound high school football game.
The first quarter ended 8-7, Monroe City.
Centralia roared back to tie it with a 34-yard Bennett touchdown pass to Cayden Dunn and another successful Ford extra point kick to tie it at halftime at 14.
Centralia eventually took the lead, courtesy of another one-yard Bennett touchdown run, followed by a 12-yard Jesse Caballero touchdown run, but when they did, Monroe City came back in the third to narrow the gap.
Neither coach called it a pretty game.
There were enough game-changing fumbles to keep fans on their toes the whole night.
A fumble exchange in late in the third led to Monroe City quarterback Marty Smyser scoring a 24-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Oswald, and then completing a two-point conversion pass to Oswald, to narrow the gap again to 27-22, Centralia.
More fumbles in the fourth which led to Monroe City losing the ball within 10 yards of the goal line with less than two minutes left.
Centralia tried to run the clock out by taking a knee, but there was too much time left and finished the game with Bennett running into the backfield, then the end zone, evading the Monroe City defense, and as the clocked ticked down to the last seconds, stepping out of bounds to give Monroe City a safety and Centralia the win.
Monroe City Head Coach David Kirby described it this way:
“The last couple minutes of the game, we forced a fumble and got the ball back. We’re trying to run a play we’ve run all night long. We had a couple time outs. We end up fumbling the ball. They get it and just the clock. It was a clock play. Once the clock gets under a certain time, they’ve got X amount of time outs, you can kneel it out. That’s what they were trying to do. It’s my fault, I made a blunder… I read it wrong on my sheet. We allowed them to have more time than they should have. They ended up capitalizing on that last play. We knew they couldn’t just take a knee again or we’d get the ball back. They made a smart move.”
Centralia Head Coach Tyler Forsee described it thus. “It got kind of wild there at the end, a lot of turnovers, a lot of stops. I was proud of our kids for coming up big when they needed to… What a dog fight… Man all heck broke loose. They fumbled, we fumbled. We got a stop. Our offense came out, we took a couple knees. They called a couple time-outs. At the very end of the game there was six seconds left on the clock and we had to find a way to burn six seconds on a fourth down. So, we just had them snap it to Cullen had him kind of run around then step out of the back of the end zone as time expired. He was able to execute that. Our O-line did a good enough job of blocking to give him enough time to burn off those six seconds. We gave up the safety, the two points, but with the five point lead we were able to do that and secure the victory.
Friday, September 29, 5-0 Centralia hosts 4-1 Clark County for homecoming.
For the full article see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.