Shadyside cruises to victory against Monroe

It’s not often a team wins a football game after it commits five turnovers and is flagged for eight penalties for more than 60 yards.

But when a team receives a defensive performance like Shadyside did Friday night at warm and muggy Fleming Field, the team can reverse the original trend.

Such was the case for the Tigers, who posted a convincing 35-7 victory against Monroe Central, on senior and alumni band night.

“I thought we played pretty well tonight,” said Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka. “I thought our kids came out very focused with a business-like attitude in the first half.”

In that first half, Shadyside (2-0) was picked off twice and lost a pair of fumbles, but outside of one drive, the Seminoles (1-1) were never able to get untracked offensively.

“They gave us four turnovers and we were still down by 28 points at half,” said Seminoles’ veteran head coach Jay Circosta. “What can you say? We just couldn’t get things going offensively and I really felt we might be able to run the ball a little bit better.”

The Tigers continually found their way into the Monroe backfield, causing quarterback Korey Lafferre to be consistently on the move and didn’t allow tailback Levi Brown too many creases in which to operate.

The Seminoles were limited on the ground to just 83 net yards for the contest and only 167 yards all told.

The Tigers’ defense was led by sophomores Scott Hammond, Eric Howell, Austin Dorris, Luke Nardo, seniors Alex Quinn, Ian Baker, Dillon Tomlinson and junior Chris Littell.

“We wanted to win every quarter and we told the kids this wasn’t just a game tonight,” Holenka said. “It was a business and, if we did win the quarters, we’d enjoy the game afterward.”

The Tigers didn’t win every quarter because the second half was a deadlock, but they did plenty of damage in the first half.

After Tomlinson made a diving interception on the Seminoles’ 23, the Tigers needed three plays before senior quarterback Chase Kinemond hooked up with Dorris on a 16-yard scoring toss.

Another quick three-and-out by the Seminoles’ offense gave Shadyside the ball on its own 45. It took four plays this time for the Orange to extend its lead. Kinemond found classmate Cody Hudson, who also booted all five Tiger PATs, for an 11-yard hookup. A big play on the drive occurred a few plays earlier when Kinemond found the rangy Dorris on a 48-yard pitch and catch.

“We wanted to come out hungry,” Holenka said. “We look up and down our schedule and we know we have to win these games that can really help us (in the computer poll) or we could end up being behind the 8-ball, so you have to get everything you can early.”

After Monroe Central was unable to capitalize on two of those Shadyside turnovers, Kinemond took matters into his own hands. He executed a beautiful play fake and skirted around the left end, basically untouched, for a 58-yard scoring scamper.

“We definitely do not like the turnovers,” Holenka said. “Obviously, we want to win the turnover battle. We laid the ball down a few times and if you want to get to where you want to go, you’ve got to eliminate the turnovers.”

The Seminoles went three-and-out once again and were victimized on the punt. Baker, who had a 37-yard punt return earlier in the game, busted one for a 60-yard touchdown, which resulted in a 28-0 Shadyside lead.

Monroe Central was finally able to take advantage of one of the turnovers. Senior Derek Stephens picked off Kinemond. Lafferre then found Cameron Jorris on a 50-yard hookup to the 7. Lafferre did the rest to get the Seminoles on the board.

“When you have four turnovers and still lead by 28 at halftime, that’s a sign of a good football team,” Circosta said. “We knew (Shadyside) had good skill people, but they beat us at the line of scrimmage, too.”

However, the Seminoles’ momentum was short lived.

Getting the ball with 47.5 seconds showing on the clock, the Tigers moved to the 5-yard line when Kinemond found Hudson for the touchdown. A 17-yard run by Kinemond and a 17-yard pass to Dorris and a 10-yard hookup with Chris Littell were the big plays on the drive.

“That was a huge score,” Holenka said. “We thought, maybe, we should have ran the clock out, but that shows how much confidence we have in our offense that we can score. Mark and Gregg (Bonar) do a great job with the offense and kids believe and for that, they deserve a lot of credit.”

Kinemond finished with 82 rushing yards on seven carries. He completed 9-of-15 passes for 132 yards. Dorris caught four balls for 90 and Hudson pulled in four for 32.

Brown led the Seminoles with 55 yards rushing on 16 totes. Lafferre completed 6-of-17 tosses.

The Seminoles make their home debut next Friday when unblemished River comes calling.

“I was proud of how our kids fought in the second half,” Circosta said. “It can get real ugly, but we battled. We’ve got to re-group for another tough one.”

Shadyside, meanwhile, will be back on the road as it treks up Route 7 to take on winless Toronto.