A talented Monroe City squad never let the Tigers get their feet underneath them on Friday night, jumping out to an early lead that never let up in the first half en route to a 42-6 defeat for Scotland County in Memphis.
Coming off one of the team’s better performances of the season, a week six loss to state ranked Milan, SCR-I was looking to continue to build momentum heading into district play. Monroe City did not let that happen, as the Panthers dominated the first half.
The visitors took the opening kickoff and marched down the field behind the running attack of Tariq Garner and Logan Minter. Garner scored on a two-yard run midway through the first period. Brandon Devlin connected with Johnathan Shuck for the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0.
After the Tigers went three and out on offense, the Panthers ground attack went right back to work. Shuck capped off the drive with a five-yard TD on the final play of the first period. Minter ran in the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-0.
Terron Ritter added to the advantage when he made a juggling interception and returned it 48 yards for a score with 10:51 left in the second quarter. Jade Holt tackled Shuck in the backfield to prevent the two-point conversion and keep the score at 22-0.
The SCR-I offense showed some signs of life on its third try. Austin Day moved the chains with a 15-yard run and followed it with another 12-yard gain before the drive ultimately stalled and SCR-I turned the ball over on downs.
Garner broke a 26-yard run and Minter followed with a 16-yard gain as Monroe City quickly returned to scoring position. Riley Kliethermes temporarily stalled the drive with a sack of Shuck but Minter scored on a 15-yard run with 2:28 left in the first half to make the score 28-0.
An SCR-I punt gave Monroe City the ball back with less than a minute remaining on the clock. That proved to be plenty of time as Devlin hit Ritter with a 74-yard TD pass to make the score 34-0 at the half.
Scotland County cut into the deficit quickly to start the second half. Aaron Buford took the first hand off of the third period and broke a 54-yard touchdown run to trim the lead to 34-6.
SCR-I’s defense forced a three and out for Monroe City but the momentum did not carry over to offense, as the Tigers could not move the chains.
The two teams traded punts on the next two possessions before Monroe City got the ball back with its second interception of the night, setting up excellent field position.
But the Tigers’ defense held and got the ball back at the four-yard line when Aaron Buford recovered a fumble.
Unfortunately SCR-I gave the ball back just three plays later with a fumble of its own, the third turnover of the night. Garner capitalized with a four-yard TD run to make the final score 42-6 following Minter’s two-point run.
Monroe City racked up 19 first downs behind 299 yards rushing and 392 yards of total offense. SCR-I managed just eight first downs on 156 yards of total offense.
The Panthers’ pass defense did not allow a completion on the night and added a pair of interceptions.
Day finished with 57 yards on 14 carries. Buford added 49 yards on three runs while Ryan Slaughter had 23 yards on eight attempts.
Mason VanHoozen had a season-high 14 tackles to lead the Tigers’ defense. Landyn Swearingen added 11 stops while Slaughter and Buford each had seven tackles.
Scotland County falls to 1-6 on the season with the loss.