Seminoles sink Pilots
WOODSFIELD – Whenever a pair of rivals meet, anything can happen.
Such was the case Friday night at Memorial Park as Monroe Central (2-1) snapped a 14-all halftime deadlock by exploding for 30 third-quarter points en route to a 50-26 victory over previously-unbeaten River (2-1) before a standing-room-only gathering.
Senior quarterback Korey Lafferre was the sparkplug, and engineer, of the Seminoles’ scorefest. The 5-9, 165-pounder accounted for 26 of those points as he ran for three touchdowns, passed for another and tossed a two-point conversion.
“The coaches just told us to go out and execute and everything else would take care of itself,” Lafferre said of the halftime lecture. “This is a very satisfying win for us.”
Lafferre scored on runs of 12, 52 and 15 yards in the third quarter alone, while also teaming up with classmate Cameron Jorris on a 73-yard pitch-and-catch. He started the scoring with a 56-yard scamper in the first quarter, and concluded it with a 72-yard sprint in the fourth.
“We finally put together some offense,” veteran Monroe Central head coach Jay Circosta said after watching his team pile up 419 total yards. “We started out with the spinner series and then we switched to the spread. Our offensive line did a great job, and our backs did a great job.”
River rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game with 4.4 seconds left in the first half on a 2-yard touchdown run by the hard-running Nick Asturi. Colton Wright’s PAT evened the count.
However, a fumble on the Pilots’ first play of its second possession in the third quarter started the onslaught.
Monroe Central’s Dylan Shapley recovered at the River 21, and two plays later, Lafferre turned the right corner and dove inside the pylon for a 12-yard scamper.
After River went three-and-out, Lafferre scooted 25 yards on a third-and-15. Three plays later, he went up the middle untouched from 52 yards out. Levi Brown converted a nifty fake on the extra point for two, making it 29-14.
Before the fans could get settled back in their seats, Asturi broke a tackle at midfield before running away from everyone for a 58-yard scoring jaunt. The two-point pass failed, leaving the Pilots staring a 29-20 deficit in the face.
That margin quickly grew as Lafferre faked into the line on the very next offensive snap before launching the ball down the right sidelines where Jorris caught it in stride at midfield. He outran everyone to the promised land for a 73-yard hookup. Josh Guiler’s PAT was good, bumping it back to 36-20.
Things continued to go bad for the Pilots as Shapley pounced on another fumble, this one at the River 26. Lafferre picked up 11 yards on first down before reaching the end zone on the next play. Lafferre then teamed with Jake Schuerman on the two-point conversion for a 44-20 reading.
Asturi added a 40-yard scoring run in the final quarter to cap his 20-carry, 171-yard effort.
However, Lafferre concluded his outstanding effort with a 72-yard sprint. He would finish with 256 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
Brown, a cat-quick sophomore, chipped in 96 yards on 16 carries. He had a 22-yard scoring run in the first quarter to stake the hosts to a 14-0 lead.
Cody Caldwell connected with Kam Brown from 29 yards out to get River on the board in the second quarter.
“I give all the credit to Monroe,” River head coach Mike Flannery said. “I knew we were getting them at a bad time (following a 35-7 loss to Shadyside).
“We were confident coming in here. Maybe a little overconfident, but … is it surprising (the loss)? It’s disappointing how we played on both sides of the ball. We put our defense in some really bad field position.
“The Lafferre and Brown kids single-handedly beat us. They played a great game and Jay (Circosta) is a class act.”
As much as Circosta wanted to talk about his offense, he didn’t want to overlook the defense, especially Shapley, Guiler and Mike Jones.
“Our defense has been playing pretty well,” he advised. “The problem was that we were giving up some big plays. Last week we gave up four big plays against Shadyside. Other than that, we shut their running game down.
“This will be a nice stepping stone for our kids,” he added. “River’s got a good football team. They are going to win a lot of football games.”
Monroe Central remains at home next week as Caldwell visits. River heads to New Martinsville to meet Magnolia.
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