Seminoles win second straight
CALDWELL – Curtis Nixon is beginning to round into a solid quarterback.
And in doing so, the Monroe Central senior is giving his team the offensive balance it’s strived for since week one.
The results speak for themselves.
Monroe scored 40-plus points for the second straight week, this time putting up 48 on homestanding Caldwell as the Seminoles evened their record at 2-2 with a 48-21 triumph Friday night at Howard J. Devol Memorial Stadium in Caldwell.
Nixon was an efficient 8 of 15 for 141 yards and tow touchdowns, the first coming on a perfectly placed jump ball for the 6-foot-5 Gavin Morton in the back corner of the end zone in the second quarter.
That score gave the Seminoles a 21-7 advantage.
“Curtis is slowly starting to come along,” Monroe Central coach Jay Circosta said. “He had a few bad passes, but he also threw some nice balls and he’s starting to make some more plays.
“He was also able to scramble for some yardage.”
Nixon added 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Operating out of the shotgun with either an ‘I’ or only junior Levi Brown flanking him, Nixon gained a few yards pulling out the ball on option keepers or scrambling away from the pass rush and creating with his legs when the protection broke down.
As the game wore on, Nixon seemed to gain comfort in the pocket, hitting Zach Jorris on a 30-yard scoring strike down the home sideline for a touchdown in the second quarter and later Bryan Duffy on a 45-yard fly pattern in the third.
That success opened up the running lanes as the game wore on, unclogging the box that saw five and six man fronts from Caldwell early on in an all-out effort to stop the run.
Brown had a yeoman’s effort on the ground, logging 113 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. He had 18 totes at the half.
While the final result was to Circosta’s liking, the opening series was not.
After collecting the initial first down on the opening drive, Nixon was hit and fumbled on a 2nd-and-9 with Caldwell’s Austin Schockling scooping up the fumble and rumbling to the Monroe 15-yard-line.
The next play, Redskins quarterback Tanner Clark took an option keeper in from 15 yards out for the early lead.
Monroe answered, putting together a 12-play drive that culminated when Cordell Gauding recovered teammate Mike Jones’ fumble in the end zone. Jones had caught a Nixon pass and taken it to the 1 before coughing it up.
The Seminoles scored 21 unanswered points before Clark connected with Tanner Baker from 14 yards out in the second.
Caldwell didn’t score again until Bricker Lori returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 86 yards for six.
Led by Jones, who finished with a host of tackles both at and behind the line of scrimmage, the Seminoles’ defense was stout. Monroe limited Caldwell to 62 rushing yards on 20 carries and just five first downs – an average of 3.1 yards per carry. Gauding also came up big defensively for Circosta’s club.
“They threw it a few more times than last year,” Circosta said. “We knew they were going to try to spread us out but I thought we did a good job defensively of containing the run.”
Morton, who is rounding into a capable threat for Monroe, finished with four catches for 51 yards.
Monroe returns to Woodsfield on Friday, playing host to unbeaten Fort Frye, a winner against Conotton Valley.
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