Prep football: Monroe Central defeats Shenandoah

WOODSFIELD – Monroe needed a get well game following a disappointing 32-8 loss last week against Magnolia.

Consider the Seminoles fully recovered.

Curtis Nixon led a ground attack that produced 266 yards and seven touchdowns as Monroe Central (4-3) cruised to a 56-9 victory against visiting Shenandoah.

Despite three losses, many of Monroe’s goals are still in sight.

The ‘Noles entered the week rated No. 8 in Ohio Division VI, Region 21. Following Friday’s romp, Monroe has three winnable games remaining against Barnesville, Frontier and Buckeye Trail.

Next up is a trip to Shamrocks country to square off with 1-6 Barnesville.

Playoffs are still a possibility. The Pioneer Valley Conference championship is a definite possibility as Monroe is spotless in league play with two conference games remaining.

“Right now, our focus is on Barnesville and also the PVC championship,” Monroe Central coach Jay Circosta said following the triumph.

Circosta and his staff saw a lot of positive things from the matchup with Shenandoah.

For one, the first team offensive unit never punted and scored on seven straight possession before yielding to the second unit prior to the midway point of the third quarter.

Monroe rushed for 266 yards and received another 147 and a touchdown through the air via the continually improving right arm of Nixon.

Defensively, the Seminoles forced four turnovers – three interceptions and one fumble on a kickoff – and held the Zeps in check for most of the night.

But the visitors did have their moments, albeit few.

The first play from scrimmage, Shenandoah’s Michael Vanfossen ripped off a 57-yard run to the Monroe 11. The defense held, forcing a 26-yard field goal from Dakota Hornak.

It continued a string of Monroe either turning the ball over on its opening series, leading to a score, or allowing the opponent an easy score to start the game.

“Defensively, we looked strong at times but we also gave a couple away,” said Circosta, wondering aloud if his team needed to get down early for it to start playing. “But we were able to come out and score some points early.

Later, with the home team well ahead, the Zeps’ Vanfossen took one to the house from 75 yards out for his team’s lone touchdown. He finished with 137 yards on 12 carries.

But take away those two long runs and Vanfossen totaled only five yards on 10 carries.

Monroe, conversely, had little trouble moving the chains. Levi Brown had 62 yards on nine carries, adding 43 receiving yards on a pair of receptions. Brown totaled two rushing touchdowns and set fullback Mikey Jones up nicely for his 4-yard, second quarter plunge.

The preceeding play, Brown intercepted Shenandoah’s Tanner Moore at the Zeps’ 18 and returned it to the 4.

Nixon had three rushing TDs, two which covered great distances of 40 and 87 yards.

Even the second unit got into the act.

Freshman Caden Nutter took a third-quarter handoff and sprinted around left end 47 yards for the game’s final score.

Defensively, the Seminoles were again led by junior linebacker Mikey Jones. Jones toataled 7? tackles and a sack, adding two more tackles behind the line.

Another frosh, defensive end Keith Bable, had an impressive showing, totaling 6? tackles and a sack.