Hawks lose road game at Monroe County

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By Ron Benningfield

Monroe County scored twice in the final 10 seconds of the first half, digging a hole which LaRue wasn't able to climb out of as the Falcons posted a 37-15 varsity football victory at Tompkinsville Friday.

"Those touchdowns were killers," Kelly Sandidge, LaRue's offensive coordinator, said. "We wound up scoring first in the second half, so if they hadn't scored those, we would have been right back in the ball game."

Monroe scored first on a six-yard run by running back Derek Lyons. A 46-yard pass completion from quarterback Justin Harlan to Neal Wilson set up the TD.  Justin Carter's point-after kick put the Falcons on top 7-0 with 8:42 left in the first quarter.

On its first possession, however, LaRue answered as junior quarterback Lucas Chaudoin found Alex Lee from 22 yards out for a score with 4:20 remaining in the period. Justin Chelf's kick tied the score at 7-all, but the Falcons soon broke the deadlock as their leading rusher Sheldon Hamilton snared the kickoff and raced 81 yards into the end zone. Monroe led 13-7 after the point-after kick failed with 4:08 showing on the clock.

In the second quarter, Hawks' defender Tyler Hornback stymied a Falcon drive when he intercepted a Harlan pass, but LaRue, plagued by offside penalties, couldn't capitalize on the opportunity.

LaRue's defense stiffened late in the second period, pushing Monroe back to the Hawks' 28 after the Falcons had clawed to the 10. With fourth and plenty, however, Harlan fired a 28-yard scoring strike to Wilson, giving them a 19-7 edge (after the conversion run failed) with eight seconds left before intermission.

Monroe's kicker squib-kicked the ball to the LaRue defenders who fumbled it and a Falcon recovered the ball on the Hawks' 11-yard line with 5.7 seconds remaining. From there, Harlan tossed an aerial to Wilson for the score. With a point-after and conversion pass no good, Monroe County went to halftime leading 25-7.

"We weren't mentally focused, as we tried to pick up the kickoff instead of just falling on it, and our lack of focus and inexperience showed through," Sandidge explained the Hawks' fumble.

The Hawks scored with 1:52 left in the third period when freshman fullback Drew Newberry carried the ball five out of six straight plays, advancing LaRue from the Falcons' 16-yard line to the one where the six-foot, 215-pounder plunged across the goal line. Chaudoin's pass to senior wide receiver Caleb Cobb closed Monroe's lead to 25-15.  

As in the second quarter, however, the Falcons proved to be a last-minute scorer, as the team took the ensuing kickoff on its own 30 and, in three running plays, reached a first down on LaRue's 11. Harlan ran the ball in from there with: 43 ticks left on the third-period clock. Carter's kick failed, leaving the Falcons ahead 31-15 entering the fourth period.

In the final frame, Hamilton climaxed a drive that had begun on Monroe's 48 by ramming the ball into the end zone from the four-yard line. The conversion attempt failed.

"It was just one of those games where we showed a lack of execution on both the offense and defense, as well as a lack of effort," Sandidge said.

Newberry led LaRue in rushing with 47 yards in 12 carries; Ryan Wafford carried 10 times for 39 yards; Alex Lee 7/26; Jordan Brewer 4/14; Shaquille Cox 3/-1; Chaudoin 2/-9.

Chaudoin completed two of seven passes for 55 yards with no interceptions; Brewer connected on three of 12 aerials for 28 yards. Lee completed his only pass for 12 yards.

Christian Mullins caught three passes for 28 yards; Cobb grabbed one pass for 33 yards; Tyler Nall 1-12; Lee 1-22.

Monroe (3-0) outrushed LaRue 236 yards to 116; and outpassed the Hawks 116-95.  The Falcons connected on seven of 10 passes. LaRue lost all three fumbles while Monroe didn't make any. The Hawks suffered four penalties for 25 yards; Monroe, nine penalties for 80 yards.

The Hawks (2-1) host Glasgow (0-3) Friday.