Prep football: Seminoles blank River Pilots 47-0

HANNIBAL – A short trip to Flannery Field Friday night was just what the doctor ordered for a winless Monroe Central football team.

Behind four Levi Brown touchdowns and a very tenacious defense, the Seminoles (1-2) tasted victory for the first time in 2013 with a 47-0 pasting of winless River (0-3).

“We kind of got untracked offensively, but it’s still not where we want it to be of course,” veteran Monroe Central head coach Jay Circosta advised. “I thought Curtis (Nixon) and Levi did some nice things tonight.”

After punting twice on its first two possessions, Monroe Central struck in lightning-quick fashion on its third series of downs.

Taking over at the Pilots’ 49-yard line, Brown lost a pair of yards on first down before Nixon found Zach Jorris down the left sidelines for a 49-yard gain to the River two. On the next play, Brown took a handoff and darted around his right end for the score. Nixon booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.

The Seminoles got the ball right back when River fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Justin Kilburn, a 5-10, 230-pound sophomore defensive tackle who seemed to be all over the field, fell on the ball at the River 23.

It only took the visitors three plays to reach the end zone as Nixon play-faked into the line before finding Bryan Duffy in the middle of the end zone from 23 yards out. Duffy made a nice two-handed twisting catch. Nixon was again true on the extra-point for a 14-0 margin.

Following an exchange of interceptions, the second by Duffy set the Seminoles up at the Pilots’ 34. A 16-yard hookup between Nixon and Duffy on third-and-13 kept the drive alive, and Brown completed it three plays later when he swept around left end for six points.

With time winding down in the first half, Brown swiped a River pass out of the air on his side of midfield. On his way down, he alertly lateraled the ball to Duffy who returned it to the River 41.

After an incomplete pass, Brown took a handoff and scampered his way to paydirt. Nixon’s PAt made it 27-0 at the half.

The Pilots were held to a mere 24 yards of total offense in the first half, and things didn’t get much better in the second as they finished with 86 for the game.

“It all starts in the trenches,” a frustrated River head coach Mike Flannery assessed. “Our people know we’re playing young kids, but it’s time they stepped up.”

For the game, the Pilots had 14 carries which resulted in negative yardage, while another two went for zero yards. They had 38 carries for 30 yards on the ground, with sophomore CJ Honneycutt picking up 34 in mop-up duty.

“I thought our linebackers played pretty well, but overall I thought everyone played well on defense,” Circosta allowed. “We were aggressive and attacked the football.”

Senior linebacker Mike Jones, along with down linemen Kilburn, Cordell Gauding, Marshall Mozena and Gavin Morton were also responsible for holding the hosts scoreless.

Junior Chase Carothers had only one carry in the game, but he took it 38 yards to the house in the third quarter. Brown added a 16-yard scamper to conclude his fine effort, while freshman Jarett Hooper recorded his first career TD on a 15-yard run around right end.

Brown accumulated 146 yards on 16 carries. Nixon added 52 on nine totes. Nixon was 6 of 14 for 111 yards and the TD. He also had a pick. Duffy hauled in three passes for 40 yards and a score.

Meanwhile, River struggled to move the ball. Tailback Jordan Sapp was held to minus 8 yards on 17 carries. Joey Flannery, who was under pressure most of the night, was 6 of 16 for 44 yards and three picks.

Bryce Cross had 29 yards rushing and caught five passes for 36 stripes.

Monroe Central remains on the road next week at Caldwell, while River travels to Magnolia.