Monroe’s Blake Springer is chased by Edmonds-Woodway’s Sebastian Schuler while trying to throw the ball during the game on Friday in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s Blake Springer is chased by Edmonds-Woodway’s Sebastian Schuler while trying to throw the ball during the game on Friday in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe rolls past E-W for 3rd straight Wesco 3A South title

Blake Springer scores three touchdowns and the Bearcat defense dominates in a 35-7 win.

MONROE — Before joining Wesco 3A South prior to the 2021 fall season, the Monroe High School football team was a consistent league-title contender.

The only problem for the Bearcats was they always found themselves falling just short by the end of the season.

That’s no longer the case.

The tables have flipped dramatically in the Bearcats’ favor during their three years in a new division. After another dominant performance in league play Friday night, Monroe is champion for a third straight season.

Senior Blake Springer threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, senior Gavin Ranz rushed for two scores and the Monroe defense created havoc all night in a 35-7 win over Edmonds-Woodway.

“It’s amazing,” senior Ryan Miller said. “I’ve been a part of this team for four years now, and every time it just feels sweeter.”

The unbeaten Bearcats (7-0 overall, 5-0 Wesco 3A South) have now won 14 consecutive league games dating back to 2021. Friday night’s win came against one of the team’s biggest challengers during that stretch. The Warriors (5-2, 4-1) shared the league championship with Monroe and Snohomish in 2021, finished as the runner-up last season and are the only team in Wesco 3A South to have beaten the Bearcats during their reign of dominance.

“It couldn’t happen against a better team,” Monroe coach Scott Darrow said. “I just really respect (Edmonds-Woodway) coach (John) Gradwohl and his team and coaches, they’re just so disciplined. That’s the best defense we’ve seen all year by far. We had to make a lot of adjustments and we made some mistakes. The kids just battled through it.”

Springer finished 22-of-31 for 277 yards and completed passes to seven different receivers. But it was his connection with Miller that proved to be a difference-maker throughout the night. The senior duo linked up 10 times for 171 yards and one TD, and every Monroe drive that Springer completed a pass on featured at least one grab by Miller.

Monroe’s Ryan Miller runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the game against Edmonds-Woodway on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s Ryan Miller runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the game against Edmonds-Woodway on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“I’ve been playing with Blake for four years now, and he’s just gotten better every single year,” Miller said. “That connection is there every time. We know where we need to get to be open and where he needs to get the ball to me. It’s just a trust that me and him have developed over the years.”

Ranz provided balance to Monroe’s potent passing game with a team-high 85 yards on 13 carries. He opened the scoring with a 2-yard run midway through the first quarter and busted a pair of 20-plus-yard runs.

“It was huge,” Darrow said of the run game. “The guys up front are pretty young, but I think they’re growing and each week getting a little better, and Gavin is a stud. He had a few that he popped.”

Meanwhile, Monroe’s defense didn’t give an inch. The Bearcats allowed zero points, just 49 yards and two first downs over the first three quarters while consistently getting pressure on Warriors standout quarterback Steven Warren Jr.

“They were stellar,” Ranz said of the defense. “They got those stops and allowed our offense do our thing and score.”

Monroe’s Iseah Canizales grabs the arm of Edmonds-Woodway’s Steven Warren while he tries to make a throw during the game on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe’s Iseah Canizales grabs the arm of Edmonds-Woodway’s Steven Warren while he tries to make a throw during the game on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023 in Monroe, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

After Ranz’s opening score, Monroe wasted little time moving the ball on its second drive. Springer found senior Matthew Rodriguez for a 36-yard gain on the opening play. The Bearcats reached the red zone two plays later on a Springer-Miller connection, and junior Mason Davis made it 14-0 on 10-yard screen pass from Springer at the 4:12 mark of the first quarter.

Springer completed five passes on the offense’s next possession, and Ranz capped another scoring drive with an elusive 24-yard run up the right sideline to go up 21-0 with 10:02 left until halftime.

The Warriors moved into Monroe territory for the first time on the next possession thanks to Warren’s 23-yard connection with senior Diego Escandon, but Aaron Clifton’s interception ended E-W’s first true threat.

Monroe overcame three penalties, including two holding calls, to extend its lead to 28-0 with 4:18 left in the third. Springer went 5-of-5 for 55 yards on the drive. He finished it off by escaping the pocket and finding Miller open for a 29-yard TD.

“He just keeps getting better,” Darrow said of his star quarterback. “He’s a riverboat gambler back there at times … but, when things break down, he’s at his best. He’s just a playmaker.”

Junior Cannon Kennard slipped by the Monroe defense on a wheel route and hauled in a 35-yard TD pass from Warren to avoid the shutout midway through the fourth quarter.

Springer tacked on a 2-yard TD run for a 35-7 with 47 seconds left.

Warren completed 12 of 23 passes for 114 yards and senior Jesse Hart III had a team-high 43 receiving yards on five receptions for E-W.

The Bearcats will face Wesco 3A North champion Arlington for the overall Wesco 3A title in the Week 9 crossover round.

“Arlington is a great team,” Darrow said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for coach (Greg) Dailer and they’re program. We’re excited to play them.”

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