Saxbury pick, Osborn TD runs boost Monroe City

Monroe City senior Zach Osborn runs the ball during a 40-0 Clarence Cannon Conference win at Highland on Friday.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2018 12:21 am

Jon Saxbury blew up a screen play Friday night and wound up with the ball in his own two hands. 

The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Monroe City lineman intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage during the third quarter of a 40-0 Clarence Cannon Conference victory at Highland.

"Jon had a heck of a game," Panthers coach David Kirby lauded. "That play was pretty awesome. After he made the pick, he rumbled for about six yards. I told him, jokingly, 'You know, I thought you almost broke that (to the end zone).'

"The big fella got the ball. That's probably going to be a play we show in film on Monday."

The defensive highlight came in the midst of Monroe City's third consecutive shutout to start the season.

The Panthers, winners of 18 straight games overall, have outscored opponents by a combined total of 86-0 this season.

"We're happy with them," Kirby said of his 3-0 Panthers, the reigning Class 1 champions. "They're playing really hard. Hopefully we can build off this and keep improving."

Monroe City plowed to 362 yards of total offense powered by its dangerous run game. The Panthers ran the ball on all but one play from scrimmage and averaged nearly 11 yards per rush.

Zach Osborn exploded for 204 yards rushing on 11 attempts to lead the backfield. Osborn raced for the first three touchdowns of the rout from 12, 1 and 95 yards out, respectively.

"Zach had a really great game," Kirby said. "He's pretty dynamic and it's fun to watch him when he gets vertical."

Blake Hays rushed three times for 38 yards and also returned a punt for a touchdown in the first half.

Keenan Batsell ran eight times for 63 yards and scored the final two touchdowns of the game, while Antwuan Battle finished with five carries for 32 yards.

Kirby noted his offensive line deserves credit for the strong run game.

"We played better up front tonight compared to the last couple weeks," Kirby said. "That was a big difference in opening some holes and allowing our running backs to gain yards."

Monroe City's defense allowed the Cougars just 109 yards of total offense and three first downs.

Damian Holland, Saxbury and Batsell each made two tackles for loss, while Nolan Pennewell had an interception.

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