Prep football: Cougars thumped by Noles 63-6

WOODSFIELD – Monroe Central is one game away from reaching its two biggest goals of every season … a Pioneer Valley Championship and a berth in the Ohio playoffs.

Facing a 4-4 Frontier team, the Seminoles wasted little time in putting to bed any thoughts of a Cougars upset.

A solid ground game, coupled by some deep pass connections allowed Monroe to take an 18-6 lead after the first quarter.

Monroe raunched down hard on the gas and never let up in handing Frontier a 63-6 defeat Friday night in Woodsfield.

Despite the lopsided result, there were still some shades of sloppiness that coach Jay Circosta would rather have not seen.

“We were sloppy at times on both offense and defense and if we are expecting to play in week 11, we’ll need to shore that up,” Circosta stated.

There was still plenty to smile about for the longtime mentor.

Curtis Nixon ran for 115 yards on nine carries, scoring on runs of 7 and 41 yards.

Through the air, the Monroe senior, who continues to round into a dual threat from his quarterback position, also threw for 204 yards and tow touchdowns on 6 of 9 passing.

He nearly had three touchdowns, but junior Levi Brown stepped out of bounds at the Cougars’ 1-yard line after a 74-yard connection midway through the fourth.

Brown’s generosity allowed teammate Mikey Jones to plunge in from the 1-yard line.

Brown must have figured he’d held the spotlight enough Friday.

He’d toted the ball 11 times for 103 yards and touchdown runs of 8 and 47 yards and also hauled in a 10-yard TD pass from Nixon. He finished with 13 touches for 187 yards of total offense.

Jake Schuerman had the other TD reception, the first score of the game, from 19 yards out.

By halftime, Monroe had built a seemingly insurmountable 36-6 lead.

That’s because, outside of an 80-yard scoring connection from Mitch Reynolds to Nick Camino, the Cougars couldn’t get anything going offensively.

Frontier has held to 36 yards rushing on 25 carries. Take away the lengthy pass connection and Reynolds was only 9 of 23 for 38 yards.

The Seminoles defense even got into the scoring act as Bryan Duffy stepped in front of a Reynolds pass and returned it 25 yards for a pick six to start the third quarter.

Finally, a pair of freshmen showed up big for Monroe. Jarret Hooper caught two passes in the first half for 93 yards, including an acrobatic catching where he managed to corral the ball on his way to the ground after a Frontier defended had tipped it.

Caden Nutter rushed for 55 yards and two scores in the second half.

Monroe ends its regular season Friday night at Buckeye Trail. The warriors are 4-5 after knocking off River.

A win guarantees the Seminoles another PVC title. It will also likely propel the ‘Noles into the postseason.

Monroe is currently No. 7 in Division VI, Region 21 and appears to control its own destiny.

Frontier, meanwhile, will look to finish with a .500 record as it plays host to River.

The best news of the night? Monroe may have finally found its kicker.

The Seminoles have struggled all year with the point after attempt.

After missing the first few Friday, Circosta opted to give sophomore Tanner Potts a shot. Potts is the team’s regular kickoff man.

Potts was 3 for 4 on PAT attempts.

“Tanner was our snapper, but we’ve been using Jake (Schuerman) recently and decided to give Tanner a shot,” Circosta said. “I think we found our kicker.”