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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Moral victory in MC’s second half

  • For two quarters, the Monroe City football team handled Centralia. But football is a game of four quarters and the Panthers lack of play in the first half was the difference in a 39-14 loss Friday night.
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  • For two quarters, the Monroe City football team handled Centralia. But football is a game of four quarters and the Panthers lack of play in the first half was the difference in a 39-14 loss Friday night.
    “I don’t go back to our kids and talk about moral victories,” Monroe City coach Tony DeGrave said. “But I do see improvement and that is what I ask for.”
    Trailing 33-0 to start the second half, Monroe City (0-6) was forced to punt after going three-and-out in its opening drive. The Panthers pinned Centralia at its own 34 yard line, but on the next play, a bad snap caused Centralia to fumble the ball and Codi Douse recovered the ball for Monroe City.
    “We tried to focus more in the second half,” Monroe City’s Derrick Kendrick said. “We were losing focus and getting mentally mad. We came out in the second half and just started doing work.”
    Two plays later, on his second carry of the game, Kendrick scored on a 5 yard run to break up the shut out.
    “It felt pretty good,” Kendrick said. “I was just coming out on the kickoff returns and experiencing those and then as a running back I was doing the same thing.”
    On the ensuing drive, with Centralia was facing a fourth-and-10, Kendrick had another big play as he sacked Centralia’s quarterback for a seven yard loss. The sack forced Centralia to turn the ball over on downs and Monroe City took over on its own 45 yard line.
    “I was playing weak-side corner and coach moved me to the bandit,” Kendrick said. “He said get in there and get that sack and I just hustled my way in there and got it.”
    DeGrave had high praise for Kendrick
    “He is a tough football player,” DeGrave said. “We have all got to be accountable to each other. It is a team game, but he is going to be a leader for us in the future.”
    It took the Panthers 10 plays, but Monroe City scored again. This time on a 14 yard pass from Grant O’Bryan to Tyler Hetheriton. Monroe City covered 55 yards on the drive with 34 of them coming through the air. That would be Monroe City’s final score of the game.
    “I really like our junior quarterback (O’Bryan),” DeGrave said. “He is a leader, but he took a beating tonight. He will take an ice bath and get ready for next weekend.”
    According to Kendrick, the second TD got the Panthers excited.
    “It felt great,” Kendrick said. “Tempo was up and we felt happy with the second touchdown because everything was just going our way.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Monroe City did not allow Centralia to score in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Centralia found the end zone one last time.
    “The kids played a little tougher in the second half and settled down,” DeGrave said. “We are playing a lot of young kids because of injuries and we are still trying to evaluate them. We are still trying to find our niche and the right kids and the right combinations.”
    Monroe City turned the ball over twice Friday night. The first time was an interception that Centralia eventually turned into a touchdown. The second turnover was a fumble late in the second quarter. Centralia was driving, but time ran out before it could score again.
    Defensively, Monroe City forced two turnovers. Aside from the fumble Douse recovered, Michael Hays intercepted a pass for the Panthers. On special teams, the Panthers blocked two PAT’s, one in the first quarter and the second in the fourth quarter.
    “That was kind of after the fact,” DeGrave said of the blocked PATs. “But you like to see the kids still hustling even at that point and that is good.”
    Monroe City will travel to Louisiana next Friday to take on the Bulldogs.

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