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Rose-Burton runs wild again in Monroe victory

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH MONROE CENTRAL’S Austin Yonak (21) blocks for quarterback Malachi Rose-Burton (13) Friday night against Frontier at Monroe Park in Woodsfield. Rose-Burton ran for 305 yards and scored four touchdowns while throwing two more to Yanok as the Seminoles took down visiting Frontier 46-28 to improve to 4-4.

WOODSFIELD — Malachi Rose-Burton has accomplished quite a bit in his three-plus years at Monroe Central. Friday night he added to that sparkling resume.

The electric 5-11, 175-pound senior became the first Seminoles rusher to eclipse the 300-yard barrier with a 305-yard performance in a 46-28 victory over visiting Frontier (5-2) at Monroe Park. It is believed that Woodsfield had a 300-yard-plus running back before the consolidation.

What made the eye-popping number even more spectacular was he did it on just 19 carries, scoring four touchdowns on runs of 80, 64, 45 and 13 — the latter putting him in rare company.

“I’m running out of superlatives to describe him,” Monroe Central head coach Josh Ischy said of his prized athlete. “I’ll have to get a thesaurus.”

When told of his record-setting night, he, like all good athletes, spread the wealth around.

“I didn’t even know that,” Rose-Burton said of becoming the first 300-yard rusher in Monroe Central history. “I have to give it to my blockers. They were hitting the guys they needed to hit and that allowed me to get into the open field. We were sustaining drives. It wasn’t like we were hitting them with long runs — we did that too — but those long drives iced the game for us.”

He was referring to a pair of 9-play drives and a 10-play march.

For the season, Rose-Burton has picked up 1,274 yards and scored 20 touchdowns. He is averaging nearly 12 yards per carry and averaged just over 16 a carry last night.

He also tossed a pair of touchdown passes to classmate Austin Yonak and finished with 88 yards through the air, giving him 393 for the game. In addition, he completed a pair of 2-point conversion passes and didn’t allow the Cougars much return yardage with his kickoffs. On defense, he charted seven tackles from his safety slot.

With the Seminoles (4-4) holding an 8-0 advantage after a 35-yard strike from Rose-Burton to a wide-open Yonak after a nifty play-fake, two plays switched the complexion of the game in a matter of seconds. Frontier marched to the Monroe Central 1 before fumbling into the end zone where the Seminoles’ Collin Kroll recovered.

On the very next snap from the hosts’ 20, the elusive Rose-Burton faked a handoff to running back Tucker Howell and then followed the promising freshman through the hole. After reaching the second level of the defense he made a pair of defenders whiff on would-be tackles and outran everyone to the end zone for an 80-yard sprint that took a mere 12 ticks off the clock.

“Just before the fumble recovery, I told the guys we can’t get down … someone make a play and we did,” Rose-Burton said of the early shift in momentum. “That allowed me to do my thing on offense.”

And did he do his thing. Eight of his carries ended in 10-plus yards.

Ischy agreed the early turnover was a game-changer.

“One hundred percent. Our defense thrives on turnovers,” he said. “We give up some yards and points and we knew they had an explosive offense, so we just had to be efficient on offense and we were.”

Monroe Central racked up 516 yards in total offense as sophomore Landen Lydick collected had 67 and a 12-yard TD on eight totes.

Leading 20-14 at the half, the Seminoles set the tone for the second half early on. Taking the kickoff, they went 65 yards on nine plays while eating up just over five minutes off the clock.”

“Excellent job. Whenever you put up rushing numbers like we did tonight, the offensive line had to a great job and they did,” Ischy praised.

That group consisted of junior center Jayke Vinskovich; freshman guards Bill Kroll and Samuel Comstock; senior Collin Kroll and junior Travis Berry at the tackles. Wide receivers Yonak, Michael Bunning and Carter Knowlton had excellent downfield blocking

Ischy was pleased with the way his defense rose to the occasion in the second half.

“We held them to eight points. We did a much, much better job,” Ischy said. “I thought our energy level rose. They were playing the same numbers of kids as we were, but when you have Malachi Rose-Burton on your side, that kind of tips the scale in your favor.”

Knowlton had a late interception that led to the final touchdown.

The victory should improve the Seminoles playoff status. They entered the contest five spots behind the 7-th ranked Cougars in Division VII, Region 27.

“This was a big win for us,” Ischy allowed.

The Seminoles close out the regular season next Friday as Shadyside visits.

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