The Monroe High School football team ended a two-game skid Friday night and spoiled Senior Night for J.P. Stevens with a 32-13 victory.
The game was a battle between two workhorse running backs, as Chewy Chukwuneke from Stevens carried the ball 28 times, while Akeer Franklin of Monroe had 34 touches on the ground himself.
Monroe’s defense, without starting linebacker Paul Baclayon managed to stop the explosive Chukwuneke, however, holding him to just 78 yards on the ground for the game.
Head coach Christopher Beagan said of the defensive effort, “(Chukwuneke) is a tremendous athlete. He’s been doing it against everyone all year long, so I thought our defense did a tremendous job of containing him. Our kids had a great week of practice and they came out and battled tonight.”
On the flip side, Franklin gashed Stevens for an incredible 306 yards, thanks in part to 6 carries of 20-plus yards.
“He’s a great back but our offensive line did a tremendous job with some backups in,” said Beagan. “We’re pretty thin right now, but that’s where I’m most proud of the kids.”
Although he was contained for the most part on the ground, Chukwuneke still had a solid day, gaining 233 all purpose yards. The Hawks put together a very game effort, cutting the Monroe lead to 6 entering the fourth quarter.
“We just didn’t execute plays that we should execute,” said a frustrated Jim Collins after the game. “We had a good game plan, but they took away Chewy, so we have to move forward.”
Despite his frustration, Collins was still pleased with the progress of his team this season.
“I came in so late. Where a program should be in their first game, we are now. Any other coaching staff with a late arrival such as me could be 0-7, but we’re 3-4.”
The scoring opened late in the first quarter on a 2-yard dive from Franklin following an 11-play drive featuring 10 rushs.
Monroe added to the lead with an explosive 48 yard dash from Franklin late in the second quarter.
Chukwuneke opened the second half with a huge 96 yard kickoff return to cut the lead to 14-6, but Monroe quickly answered on a 12-yard keeper from backup quarterback Kyle Volkmann.
Ryan Schneider again cut into the Monroe lead with an 8-yard keeper to make the score 19-13, but a 20-yard touchdown pass from Volkmann to Cameron Coleman on fourth down helped Monroe pull away for good.
Franklin’s third score of the game, a rush from 32 yards out late in the fourth quarter, ended the scoring and gave the game its final margin.
M- Franklin 2 run (Schreiber kick)
M – Franklin 48 run (kick failed)
J – Chukwuneke 96 kick return (2 pt failed)
M – Volkmann 12 run (kick failed)
J – Schneider 8 run (Minor kick)
M – Coleman 20 pass from Volkmann (2 pt failed)
M – Franklin 32 run (Schreiber kick)
RUSHING: J – Chi. Chukwuneke 28-78 Schneider 9-11, Chr. Chukwuneke 1-5; M – Franklin 34-306, Volkmann 5-10.
PASSING: J – Schneider 4-15-0-72, Chi. Chukwuneke 1-1-0-6; M – Volkmann 10-14-1-98.
RECEIVING: J -Chi. Chukwuneke 4-46, Marino 1-17, Perkins 1-6; M – Thompson 6-45, Coleman 3-39, Franklin 1-14.