Monarch gridders fall in Division I playoffs

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Marysville’s Carson Smith (5) prepares to tackle a Springfield ball carrier Friday evening. The Monarchs fell to the Wildcats, 23-0, during the opening round of the Division I state playoffs. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)

It had been six years since the Marysville High School football team had competed in the state playoffs.
The layoff showed Friday night as the Monarchs fell 23-0 at Springfield in the opening round of the Division I post-
season.
“They started fast and we didn’t,” said MHS coach Brent Johnson.
The Monarchs notched just 31 yards and two first downs while surrendering nearly 200 yards to their opponents in the
first half.
Johnson said his team came out on the field emotionally ready, but not sure what to expect.
“We learned something about what it takes in the playoffs. It took us a half to figure it out,” Johnson said.
A number one seed in the region, Springfield wanted to make sure it was well ahead when its visitors had their playoff
bearings about them.
The Wildcats’ Jeff Tolliver took the game’s opening kickoff at the 20-yard-line near Marysville’s sideline. Tolliver crossed
the field and then headed up the home sideline. He didn’t stop until he crossed the goal line.
“That kind of took it to us right away,” Johnson said.
The Wildcats missed the extra point attempt, but already had all the points they would need on the night.
“They punched us in the mouth and it took us some time to respond,” said Johnson. “We needed to come back and
respond right away.”
The Monarchs had their chances.
Springfield attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. The ball did not go the requisite 10 yards and Marysville
took possession inside the Springfield 40.
The visitors, however, were not able to respond. The Monarchs gained just seven yards and turned the ball over on
downs.
The Wildcats took the break and marched 67 yards in seven plays – four runs for nine yards and three passes for 58.
Wildcat gunslinger Te’Sean Smoot put the home team back into the scoring column, tossing a laser pass to wideout
Larry Stephens at the front of the end zone.
Cole Yost booted the extra point and with 6:32 to play in the opening half, the Wildcats held a 13-0 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, the Springfield special teams made another big play.
Brody Lewis booted a punt to Springfield’s Anthony Brown who turned on the jets and sprinted through the Marysville
coverage.
He moved all the way to the Monarch 15.
Marysville’s defense stiffened and the Wildcats were forced to try a 33-yard field goal.
Yost never got the chance. Holder Dominic Turner bobbled the snap and decided to try to run for the needed 11 yards.
The Monarch line converged, snuffing out Springfield’s outstanding scoring opportunity.
The home fans, however, were thrilled one play later when Jayden Simmons coughed up the ball.
Wildcat Delian Bradley snatched up the loose ball and ran it back inside the the Marysville five-yard-line.
The Monarch defense again rose up to keep its Clark County hosts out of the end zone.
This time, however, Springfield’s field goal try was true.
Yost’s 20-yard boot gave the Blue and Gold a 16-0 lead with 5:13 to play in the half.
Moments later, Springfiled added to its lead.
On his team’s next possession, Smoot dropped a pass just over the outstretched arm of defensive back Gabe Powers
and into the Stephens’ waiting hands for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Yost added the PAT, which turned out to be the game’s final point.
Johnson said he was “really proud” of the way his team responded in the second half.
Marysville moved the ball after the break, outgaining the Wildcats and possessing the ball for more than 22 minutes.
Early in the third period, the Monarchs moved to the Springfield 25, but turned the ball over on downs.
The next MHS possession ended on fourth down on the Wildcat 4-yard-line.
While they were never able to break into the scoring column, the Monarchs never gave up.
Johnson said he was nervous about the Wildcat running attack, but “our defense really hung tough.
“For them to come out and play the way they did in the second half, they really showed something,” Johnson said.
The coach said that all season, when his team faced adversity, it “dug in” and refused to surrender.
“It goes to competing,” Johnson said. “Competing to me is a mindset that you can come out and play with anybody. We
showed that tonight.”
Johnson said the loss was “part of the learning curve.”
“We are going to build on this and keep taking steps in the right direction,” the coach said.
He added a promise to his team and fans.
“It isn’t going to be another six years,” he said.
Springfield will next play Dublin Jerome on a neutral field on Friday.
The Celtics defeated Springboro, 38-31, last night in five overtime periods.

Ashton Schmutz (20) of MHS pursues a Springfield ball carrier on Friday. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)



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