Playoff football: Noles upset Trojans 15-9

CENTERBURG – Monroe Central in moving on after upsetting previously undefeated and host Centerburg, 15-9, in an Ohio Division VI, Region 21 first-round football playoff game Friday night.

The Jay Circosta-coached and No. 6-seeded Seminoles improved their record to 8-3 overall, while the Jim Stoyle-led Trojans exited with a 10-1 mark.

MC quarterback Curtis Nixon rushed for one touchdown and passed for another to lead the Noles, who are now schduled to play Columbus Bishop Ready at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.

“Our kids played super defensively, and played their hearts out,” Circosta said. “Anytime you go up against a 10-0 team, averaging 40 points a game, and you hold them to nine, you deserve a lot of credit.”

Monroe Central got the first big break of the game when Nixon’s punt was muffed by the Centerburg return man, and recovered by MC’s Joey Schumacher at the 15-yard line.

One play later, Nixon found Mikey Jones in the end zone for the first score of the contest, making it 6-0.

Tanner Potts followed with the extra point at the 9:29 mark.

In the second quarter, Centerburg also cashed in on a special teams play, too, when Nixon shanked a four-yard punt.

The Tojans then drove 58 yards on 12 plays with Austin Glasscock going in from six yards out, cutting it to 7-6. On the ensuing PAT, MC’s Jones blocked the Centerburg kick.

At halftime, Monroe Central led 7-6.

In the third quarter quarter, Centerburg took its first and only lead of the game when Sterling Armstrong kicked a 31-yard field goal at the 7:11 mark.

But Monroe answered quickly after Nixon completed a 24-yard pass to Gavin Morton. Then, on the next play, Nixon raced 36 yards down the right sideline to paydirt.

“Coach said that we needed to run the ball better in the second half,” Nixon said.

“And I just got to the outside and got a key block -and made a big play.”

Nixon connected with Morton on a two-point conversion attempt to give the Noles a 15-9 advantage.

The MC defense took over from there and stopped the Trojan offense four times down the stretch.

In the fourth quarter, Seminole freshman Jarett Hooper make a diving catch of 27 yards that set up a field goal attempt by Potts. But the kicker missed wide left.

If Potts had connected, it would have made it a two-possession game.

Centerburg then drove the ball out to midfield, where it turned the ball over on downs with about two minutes to go in the game. Monroe Central’s Levi Brown iced the game when he ran 47 yards for a first down.

“Their defensive front seemed to give us some trouble for a while,” Circosta said. “But we managed to come up with some big plays when we needed them most.”