Posted: Friday, September 23rd 2011 at 11:33pm
Chestatee runs out of time in 41-35 loss to Monroe
By Morgan Lee Editor
Chestatee running back Brandon Thompson, left, runs behind a crushing block from teammate Austin Edmonds on Friday night in Gainesville. / photo: Reggie James
GAINESVILLE -- One less turnover, one less mistake... Chestatee football walked off the field wondering what might have been Friday night.
Monroe Area walked off that same field knowing the War Eagles are a pretty good football team.
After holding a 20-point lead in the third quarter, the Purple Hurricanes watched the War Eagles claw their way back into the contest only to come up short in a 41-35 defeat in Gainesville.
Chestatee scored 14 unanswered points over the third and fourth quarters and recovered an onside kick with just under a minute to play. The War Eagles (3-1) even moved as close as the Monroe 28, but Chestatee's fourth turnover of the game sealed the outcome, as the Purple Hurricanes (3-1) picked off a pass with 30 seconds to play to hold on for the win.
"We just made one too many mistakes against a good team," Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said. "But I'm so proud of the way our kids battled and fought and never gave in. We showed we'll never quit tonight, and I think we can build on that moving forward."
The War Eagles outgained Monroe 440-390 on the night, including 228 yards rushing and 212 passing. But the Purple Hurricanes' speed in the backfield -- and just one turnover -- proved too much to overcome.
Monroe rushed for 331 yards on 41 carries, including 145 yards from quarterback Floyd McCoy and 105 yards from running back Monterrio Smith. Yet perhaps the biggest play of the game came on special teams, when the Purple Hurricanes' Junior Reed returned a Chestatee kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
The score countered the War Eagles' early momentum and sparked a 20-point surge that saw the visitors take a 27-14 halftime advantage.
Chestatee battled back into the contest in the second half, getting big plays from quarterback Jordan Degraff -- who finished 12 of 25 through the air with two touchdowns and two interceptions -- and running back Brandon Thompson, who proved a workhorse after fellow running backs Quan Clark and Montrai Tate left the game early with injuries.
Thompson finished with 167 yards rushing on 26 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown blast.
"I feel like we showed everybody tonight what we're made of," Thompson said. "We fought hard all night and never gave in."
Monroe Area flashed its big-play ability from the start, as McCoy ripped off a 79-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. The War Eagles blocked the point after but trailed 6-0 after just 47 seconds.
Chestatee wasn’t dazzled, however, and the War Eagles responded with an impressive, nine-play scoring drive, taking a 7-6 lead after Degraff found Kelly Arthur over the middle for a 23-yard scoring pass and Leo Molina tacked on the extra point. It was the start of a big night for Arthur, who caught seven passes for 95 yards.
Ten plays later Chestatee’s defense continued to build the War Eagles’ momentum, when Cody Etris recovered a fumbled snap, halting a Monroe Area drive at the Chestatee 42. The turnover provided Degraff with another scoring opportunity and the War Eagle quarterback again went to the air, burning the Purple Hurricanes defense with a 48-yard strike to Kirk Schnieder.
The point after gave Chestatee a 14-6 advantage and had the home stands rocking -- but that all ended on the ensuing kickoff.
The play provided the turning point of the first half.
Chestatee’s offense sputtered before the interval, turning the ball over on an interception and getting off two short punts, and while the War Eagles’ defense battled, it couldn’t stop Monroe’s speed in the backfield, as McCoy and Kwan Brooks took turns slashing through the line. Brooks exploded for a 53-yard touchdown run with 4:40 left before the interval, while McCoy plunged into the end zone with just 19 seconds left before halftime for a 27-14 Monroe lead.
The War Eagles refused to yield, storming out of the locker rooms courtesy an 80-yard scoring sprint from Brandon Thompson to trim the deficit to 27-21. Yet Monroe fired right back, scoring on a 54-yard option pitch to Monterio Smith for a 34-21 lead. Darius Blackwell then tacked on a three-yard run with 6:17 left in the quarter after Monroe recovered a Chestatee fumble.
Chestatee still wasn’t finished, however, as Degraff hauled the War Eagles back into the contest with two touchdown runs, scoring from 2 and 7 yards -- the final score coming with one minute left to set up an thrilling finish. Chestatee's Molina launched a perfect onside kick that bounced high and off one Monroe player before the War Eagles gathered the loose ball. Chestatee picked up a first down on the next play but moved no further before the interception finished the game.
Chestatee will look to bounce back next week against arch-rival North Hall in its first subregion game of the campaign.
"We just got to come back and go to work," Thompson said. "We've got to put this behind us and come out and get a win next week."
Monroe Area.....14....13.....14.....0 -- 41
Chestatee.........14.....0.....14.....7 -- 35
MA -- McCoy 79 run (kick failed) 11:13, 6-0
CHS -- Arthur 23 pass from Degraff (Molina kick) 8:16, 6-7
CHS -- Schnieder 48 pass from Degraff (Molina kick) 1:36, 6-14
MA -- Reed 85 kickoff return (McCoy pass) 1:20, 14-14
MA -- Brooks 53 run (kick failed) 4:40, 20-14
MA -- McCoy 1 run (Brown kick) :19, 27-14
CHS -- Thompson 80 run (Molina kick) 11:14, 27-21
MA -- Smith 54 run (Brown kick) 7:52, 34-21
MA -- Blackwell 3 run (Brown kick) 6:17, 41-21
CHS -- Degraff 2 run (Molina kick) :01, 41-28
CHS -- Degraff 7 run (Molina kick) 1:00, 41-35
© Copyright 2013 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.