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September 28, 2013INDIAN TRAIL - What was supposed to be a close game between two talented Union County teams turned into an offensive and defensive exhibition being put on by 2A contender Monroe (4-2). Sun Valley (3-3) had opportunities throughout the game, but was never able to take advantage as Monroe defeated the Spartans 32-3 in non-conference action.
Sun Valley took their first possession and drove down deep into Monroe territory, but was unable to convert, turning the ball over on downs. Seeing a chance to seize the early momentum, the Redhawk offense went to work, punishing the Spartan defense with a mix of inside and outside runs. Faced with a fourth and ten from the Sun Valley 27, Monroe freshman quarterback Zephaniah Wall found a seam while scrambling under pressure, putting the Redhawks on the board first with a 6-0 lead.
The Spartans' next possession was basically a replay of their first, with the offense moving the ball deep into Redhawk territory but coming up short again on fourth down. Wall was there for the Redhawks again with another twenty-seven yard touchdown run, his second of the night. "He was patient he got his opportunity and he took advantage of it," Monroe head coach Johnny Sowell said after the game.
Sun Valley took their first three drives of the first half deep inside Monroe territory, but was only able to come up with three points. A twenty yard field goal by Kiersten Peck before the half ended up being the Spartans' only points of the night.
Monroe junior running back Chase Byrum added to the scoring for Monroe early in the third quarter with a four yard touchdown run, putting the Redhawks ahead 20-3. Just when it looked like Sun Valley was going to get the momentum on their side, Monroe's Desmen Robinson was there for the big interception at their own two yard line. The Redhawks drove ninety-eight yards down the field with Byrum punching it in from eleven yards out to give Monroe a 26-3 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Monroe's Montez Rorie picked up a Sun Valley fumble and rumbled into the end zone to give the game its final score. "It's probably the best overall game we've played all year," Monroe coach Sowell commented after the game, "offensively, defensively, we executed in all facets of the game." Sun Valley running back Albert Funderburke, who had already rushed for over a thousand yards this season, was mostly held in check by a focused Redhawk defense. "It was a challenge. We knew what he was capable of doing. Our plan was to make sure we stop him and then the quarterback," Redhawk coach Sowell said in postgame comments.
Monroe is finding their bye week at just the right time of year, after a punishing nonconference schedule. "We're still injured, but have an off week next week we working to get guys better and want to look at what can happen at the end of the year," Coach Sowell said after the game. Asked about his nonconference schedule, Sowell commented, "when you get to the second and third rounds, those are the types of programs you play, programs that can play and we want to be ready for them."
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