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Shadyside rallies past Monroe

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH SHADYSIDE QUARTERBACK Ben Wach (4) tries to elude the grasp of Monroe Central’s Blake Jennewein during Friday night’s game at Monroe Memorial Park. The Tigers escaped with a 21-20 victory.

WOODSFIELD — Good teams find ways to win when faced with adversity. Shadyside did just that Friday night.

The Tigers (8-1) used three short touchdown runs by fullback-turned-tailback Andrew Osman in rallying past a gutsy Monroe Central bunch, 21-20, at soggy Monroe Memorial Park. Osman, who replaced injured All-Ohio tailback Wyatt Reiman in the first half, scored on runs of 1, 9 and 8. The sophomore finished with 70 yards on 18 carries.

Osman’s final TD came with 4:22 remaining in the fourth quarter and followed a nifty 32-yard punt return by senior Mason VanNest that put the ball at the Seminoles’ 11. On second-and-7, Osman busted off the left side behind the senior duo of Gage Joseph and Kristopher Tsoras. VanNest’s placement just made it over the crossbar for a 21-20 reading.

“There must be a fairy angel up there because I’m not sure we deserved to win this ballgame,” Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka said. “I will say this for our team, they very easily could have folded but they didn’t. They had great resolve and the toughest thing in high school sports is to change momentum and comeback and be productive.

“We were in the last quarter,” he continued. “We were on the knocking edge every time. I tip my hat to our team, but I also tip my hat to our coaching staff, as well.”

Monroe Central (4-5) had one last chance, but four consecutive incomplete passes sealed the deal. Korey Beckett jarred the ball loose from Carter Knowlton on what would have been a first down just past midfield on fourth down, turning the ball over to the Tigers who ran out the clock.

“I can’t say enough about my kids or my coaches. What a great gameplan we had,” Monroe Central head coach Josh Ischy allowed. “Our defense played outstanding.”

Shadyside found the end zone on its second possession of the game as Osman capped a 6-play, 70-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge. It came after he rambled 26 yards a play earlier and two plays following a 29-yard completion from sophomore Ben Wach to junior Elijah Brock on third-and-7. Reiman, who suffered an undisclosed injury and didn’t return to the field, ran for the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.

The Seminoles failed to capitalize on a pair of miscues by the Tigers. Senior Collin Kroll tackled VanNest at the Tigers’ 19 when he tried to run with a bad snap from punt formation, but they turned the ball over on downs. Then, Xavier Kinney pounced on a fumble near midfield, but an interception by Beckett halted that drive.

Monroe Central did get on the scoreboard before the first half ended. Senior quarterback Malachi Rose-Burton found Tucker Howell in the right flat and the freshman battled his way into the end zone to complete a 10-yard scoring play. However, the run for two failed with 1:22 left in the half.

Following a 40-yard kickoff return by Beckett to start the third quarter, Shadyside needed just five plays — all runs and four of them by the 5-9, 155-pound Osman — to extend its lead to 14-6 when the 2-point run failed at the 9:57 mark.

The Seminoles responded with an 8-play, 51-yard scoring march as Rose-Burton flipped a pass to senior Michael Bunning in the left flat. Bunning bulled his way past a defender and into the end zone for a 6-yard scoring connection. Once again, however, the 2-point try failed with the rivals knotted at 14 with 5:19 on the clock.

Shadyside’s ensuing drive stalled when Kroll sacked Wach for 10 yards and forced a punt by Brock. The ball rolled dead at the hosts’ 30.

On the next snap, the elusive Rose-Burton displayed his athletic skills. He started to his right before cutting back to his left where he found a lane down the far sideline for a 70-yard TD scamper that put Monroe Central on top, 20-14, after the 2-point pass came up short with 2:03 showing on the third-quarter clock.

The Tigers moved to inside the Seminoles’ 10 early in the fourth quarter only to see a fourth-down snap bobbled for no gain.

Rose-Burton finished with 18 carries for 124 yards and the aforementioned TD. He also completed seven passes for 105 yards and the two scores.

Wach passed for 94 yards on 9-of-17 with Brock hauling in five aerials for 54 yards. VanNest secured three for 37.

Both teams were assured of Division VII, Region 27 playoff berths entering the contest. The official first-round pairings will be released on Sunday.

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