Monroe Central's fate Friday night was seemingly sealed during a two-play span in the second quarter of its homecoming game against rival Magnolia.
Facing 4th-and-10 from the Eagles' 35, Monroe quarterback Korey Lafferre hit Cameron Jorris on a perfect strike around the 10-yard line that would have gone for a touchdown. Jorris was unable to hang onto the ball, however, forcing a turnover on downs.
The next play, Magnolia's Stephen Rogalski took a pitch on a reverse and raced 65 yards to paydirt. What should have been a 7-7 reading on the scoreboard now shown 14-0 in favor of the visitors.
And with the dominance the Magnolia defense was displaying in shutting down the Monroe offense, that deficit was not able to overcome as the visitors headed back across the Ohio with a 35-15 victory in tow.
"It was 7-0 at the time and it could have been 7-7 but in two plays, we went from a possible tied score to be being down 14-0," said Monroe Central coach Jay Circosta as his team lost for a rare second time in a row in dropping to 3-3.
How dominant was Magnolia's defense?
Monroe's leading rusher was Levi Brown's four yards on two carries. As a team, the 'Noles were held to negative-1 yard on 17 carries.
Magnolia forced Monroe to the air and the Eagles' blitzing from all angles defensive philosophy had Lafferre on his back five times via sack.
"We got after it on defense and did a nice job," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said, his team improving to 5-1. "Our kids came to play and this is a nice win. Any time you can come into Woodsfield and get a win is special."
Magnolia set to task early, embarking on a 14-play, 73-yard drive that culminated in a Tanner Hanna to Rogalski pass from 8-yards out.
Following Rogalski's run to daylight on the reverse, Monroe finally got on the board.
Lafferre hit Jorris on a 63-yard pass connection, with Jorris racing down to the Magnolia before fumbling. Luckily for the hosts, Chandler Carothers was waiting to pass on the ball in the end zone, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
The Eagles tacked on two more scores before the half - the first on a 3-yard run from Kage Rohde, followed by a 6-yard connection from Hanna to Jacob Brill.
Rogalski added a 65-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter when he seemingly picked the ball off of Lafferre's back after the Monroe senior narrowly missed an interception.
Monroe's final score came on a Brown 87-yard kick return in the fourth.
Hanna finished 8 of 14 for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Rohde had 94 yards rushing while Drew Keller back him with 91 as the Eagles ran for 245 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per tote.
Lafferre was 8 of 24 through the air for 114 yards.
Monroe will look to snap its rare losing skid Friday when it travels to Sarahsville to face the struggling Zeps. Magnolia, meanwhile, is set to square off with winless Weir.
"The effort was there and the kids played hard but that's a pretty good football team over there," Circosta said. "They have two nice backs and Rogalski can hurt you whether he's running or catching the ball."