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Monroe trampled by Bellevue, ousted from 3A state football tournament

The Bearcats surrender seven unanswered touchdowns in a 49-7 loss.

BELLEVUE — The Monroe High School football team got off to the start it needed to hang with powerhouse Bellevue.

But after the opening score, the Wolverines took over and proceeded to deliver a beatdown on the upset-minded Bearcats.

Bellevue’s high-powered rushing attack piled up seven unanswered touchdowns and its secondary stifled high-flying Monroe for a 49-7 victory in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

“That’s a really good team,” Monroe coach Scott Darrow said of Bellevue. “I was impressed by them. I think we thought we had a chance there early.”

Sixth-seeded Bellevue (8-2) will visit third-seeded Arlington in the state quarterfinals next week.

The 11th-seeded Bearcats (9-2) looked ready to give the Wolverines a challenge after a promising start from their defense.

Monroe forced a three-and-out and Bellevue punt, which Carl Watson III blocked and Nick Mouser recovered in the end zone for a Monroe touchdown and 7-0 lead just 1 minute, 47 seconds into the game.

The Bearcats then forced the Wolverines into a third-and-17 near midfield, but Bellevue standout Ryken Moon ripped off a 54-yard TD run on a sweep to tie it.

Monroe responded with a 54-yard connection from Iseah Canizales to Aaron Clifton on a reverse pass to quickly flip the field, but that was about all the offense could produce in the first half. AJ Morton’s interception at his team’s 3-yard line ended the Bearcats’ threat.

The Wolverines proceed with an 11-play, 97-yard TD march — all on the ground — that Max Jones finished off with a 3-yard plunge for a 14-7 lead with 2:33 left in the first.

Monroe struggled to find any rhythm on offense the rest of the way, as Bellevue forced three-and-outs on the Bearcats’ next four drives.

“We just had a hard time getting first downs,” Darrow said. “… It was just little things. We had guys kind of open … and we had some chances and we just didn’t hit them early.”

The Wolverines’ Wing-T attack put together all-run TD drives on three of four possessions after the defensive stops, and a fumble inside the Monroe 10-yard line prevented a fourth. It resulted in Monroe’s defense staying on the field for the majority of the first half en route to a 35-7 deficit.

Bellevue’s secondary held Monroe to just 2-of-14 passing for minus-2 yards and two interceptions after the long pass on the trick play in the first. The Wolverines finished with five interceptions and held standout Bearcats quarterback Blake Springer to just 107 yards on 11 of 30 passing.

“They’re just quick and they’re well-coached,” Darrow said. “That’s what really impressed me, is that their secondary is really good.”

Moon was a major difference maker for the Wolverines on both sides of the ball. The senior had three of the team’s five interceptions, multiple pass break-ups and needed just six carries to pile up 117 yards and two TDs rushing.

“That kid can play, man,” Darrow said. “He was all over the field.”

Bellevue finished with 467 total yards and received 431 on 55 carries from its array rushing options. Carson Rubin rushed for a team-high 152 yards and a score, Max Jones rushed for two TDs and Bryce Smith and Trevin King each added another. The Wolverines ran just two pass plays and didn’t get any yards through the air until the fourth quarter.

“They’re hard to prepare for,” Darrow said. “I think our defense did a good job hanging with them early, but they just kind of wear you out.”

Monroe graduates 19 seniors who helped lead the program to three consecutive Wesco 3A South titles and two state tournament appearances over the past three seasons.

“Just such a great group,” Darrow said. “They’re so resilient, they’re just winners. I’m just so proud of them. … There’s just a lot of guys that came out from day one and showed they’re high-character kids. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve had a lot of great classes come through. This, I think, is certainly one of the best we’ve ever had come through here. We’ll miss them. … It’s like losing family.”

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