Monroe edges Edgewood 30-29

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

In the game of the day, Monroe Academy defeated Edgewood Academy 30-29 to bring home the AISA Class AA state title.

“This is a highlight,” said Monroe head coach Mitchell Turberville. “This is unbelievable.”

Monroe trailed 29-27 with 1:38 left to play when it took over on its own 22.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Volunteers then mounted a dramatic 10-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 39-yard field goal by freshman Craig Bryan to put Monroe ahead.

“I had all the confidence in the world because I knew how supportive of me my teammates were,” Bryan said.

“I just focused on keeping my head down and kicking it through the uprights. I didn’t want to look up, but I heard the fans’ reactions and I just thought, ‘Oh my God.’”

Turberville spoke highly of his young kicker after the game.

“He’s got some guts about him,” Turberville said.

“He’s 15 years old, but he’s not a typical 15-year-old.”

The game was not over, however, as Edgewood tried to lateral the ball around to find a lane on the ensuing kickoff.

It appeared as if the Wildcats had been stopped and Monroe would take home the title, but the Volunteers were flagged when players ran onto the field from the sideline while the kick was still being returned.

Edgewood was granted one final untimed down, but Keland Dees came up with a sack of Wildcat quarterback Matt Moore to end the game.

Edgewood jumped out to a 19-7 lead with 1:14 left in the second quarter thanks to Moore. Moore accounted for the first three Edgewood scores, scoring on a 48-yard run and tossing touchdown passes of 27 and 26 yards to Hunter Kilcrease.

Monroe would not quit, however, scoring a touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Dustin Ellison to Willis Webb to cut the lead to 19-14 at the half.

Monroe got the ball to start the second half, and took it 74 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown, ending with a two-yard Sam Vermilyea touchdown run.

The Craig Bryan extra point put Monroe up 21-19.

The Wildcats responded with a 10-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard Matt Moore field goal to put Edgewood up 22-21.

The Volunteers looked as if they would answer right back when Ellison hit Tanner Smith for a 59 yard gain all the way down to the Edgewood 20.

However, Smith had the ball pulled away from him while fighting for extra yardage.

The ball never hit the ground, but Smith was charged with a fumble that was recovered by Edgewood’s Camron Elliott at the Wildcat 20.

Edgewood turned the Volunteer mistake into points, going 80 yards for a touchdown in nine plays.

The extra point put Edgewood up eight with a little over nine minutes left to play.

Monroe cut the lead to two later in the fourth when Tanner Smith returned a Moore interception 19 yards for the score.

The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 29-27 at setting up the game’s dramatic closing events.