Monroe Central picking up late-season steam

Korey Lafferre and the Monroe Central offense had the shotgun option attack working to near perfection Friday night in Woodsfield.

Teamming with backfield mate Chase Carothers, the tandem combined for 246 yards and five rushing touchdowns as the homestanding Seminoles rolled past rival Barnesville 42-0.

“We definitely thought he’d be the one with the ability to hurt us,” said Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson as his team fell to 4-4. “He was a threat and Monroe executes so well.”

Lafferre routinely waited until the last minute to pull the ball from Carothers’ gut, getting multiple Shamrocks to bite on the potential give and opening up running lanes which the ‘Noles senior was more than willing to exploit.

After Carothers opened the scorring barrage with a 44-yard jaunt on Monroe’s initial drive, Lafferre went to work.

His first touchdown covered 50 yards, his second 9, and after Carothers tacked on a 1-yard TD burst, Lafferre tallied his third touchdown of the second quarter with a 7-yard keeper.

Lafferre led all rushers with 136 yards on 14 carries.

“If he gets a seam, he’s got the speed to break it long,” Monroe Central coach Jay Circosta said. “He played well and we got a nice job out of Chase.”

Carothers was elevated to feature-back status Friday, filling in for the injured Levi Brown.

Brown rolled his ankle last week against Shenandoah and was a game-time decision. Feeling Brown wasn’t near 100 percent, Circosta opted to sit the sophomore and give Carothers an opportunity to shine.

He took full advantage.

Carothers finished with 110 yards on 12 carries. In addition to his two touchdowns, he set up Lafferre’s third after a lengthy punt return set Monroe up in business at the Shamrocks’ 16-yard line.

The ‘Noles tacked on one final TD in the third quarter when Lafferre hit an open Mikey Jones in the corner of the end zone from 7 yards out.

Defensively, Monroe’s defense was staunch against the run.

Barnesville was limited to 40 yards on 28 carries. Runs between the tackles were met with stiff resistance from linemen Josh Guiler, Marshall Mozena and insider backer Camden Hill.

When the ‘Rocks tested the perimeter, Guiler was able to fight through multiple blockers, stringing the play out long enough for the second level of Monroe’s defense to pursue and make the stop for minimal gains.

Colton Pritchard led the Rocks with 28 yards on 14 carries, adding two receptions for 26 yards.

Monroe has two guaranteed games remaining … on the road at Frontier and a regular-season finale in Woodsfield against Buckeye Trail.

Circosta’s looking for his team to close out strong for a possible 7-3 finish and then play the wait-and-see game in terms of the postseason.

Barnesville, meanwhile, will try to regroup as it travels to New Martinsville for a meeting with a tough Magnolia squad.

Hughes may be reached at