Colton Powers (32) of MHS stretches for yardage against Springfield on Friday. The Monarchs fell in the Division I-Region 2 championship game. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
One of the best football seasons in the history of Marysville High School came to an end Friday evening.
The No. 1-seeded Monarchs (who finished at 12-1) had trouble generating much in the way of offense when they faced No. 2 Springfield (now 12-1) at Hilliard Darby High School.
On the other side of the ball, MHS could not contend with the Wildcats’ passing game during a 27-0 loss in the Division I-Region 2 championship game.
“At halftime, I knew we were in a football game,” said Monarch head coach Brent Johnson.
The Wildcats led by just a 7-0 count at the turn.
Despite the fact MHS had trouble moving the ball during that time, Monarch Nation had every right to feel comfortable.
The wheels, however, fell off after the teams returned from halftime.
“I knew we’d have to win first downs in the second half,” said Johnson. “We weren’t able to do that.”
The Monarchs could never get into any type of offensive flow against the best defense they’ve faced all season.
A Marysville ground attack that went into the contest with more than 3,000 yards on its resume was limited to just 115.
On the flip side, MHS’ defense had not been tested all that much by an opponent’s aerial force.
That changed as Wildcat quarterback Te’Sean Smoot rifled the ball through the cold November air for 347 yards.
Both teams’ defenses punched the other’s offensive unit in the nose during the initial quarter.
Marysville took the opening kickoff after Springfield won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
Starting from its own 25, MHS managed just 15 yards on ground gains by Gabe and Colton Powers, Griffin Johnson and Matt Krutowskis.
The Wildcat defenders were quick enough to close up potential running holes and forced MHS to punt.
Marysville’s defense was just as unforgiving as the Cats also kicked after just five offensive snaps.
The Monarchs had to punt for the second consecutive time when three plays couldn’t gain much yardage.
Springfield took over at its own 35 and began marching toward its first touchdown of the night.
Smoot found gaps in Marysville’s secondary and connected with several receivers on a number of passes.
Smoot’s actual offerings weren’t that long during any point of the game.
The Wildcats’ receivers, however, did a good job of knifing through the Monarch secondary for yards after catches.
A pass from Smoot to Anthony Brown moved the ball down to the MHS 13.
The pair connected again for an apparent touchdown, but a holding infraction nullified the score.
The ball was moved back to the Monarch 27 before Smoot tossed the ball to Daylen Bradley.
That put the pigskin on the MHS 10 with 4.3 ticks on the first quarter clock.
Smoot threw an incompletion as the period came to an end.
Springfield faced fourth-and-one as the ensuing quarter got under way.
Smoot escaped a tackle by Gabe Powers and ran for a first down at the eight-yard-line.
Two plays later, he covered that distance for the score.
Cole Yost kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
Camereon Jones ran Marysville’s kick return to the MHS 47.
The Powers brothers and Johnson did the bulk of the work as the Monarchs moved deep into Wildcat territory.
Quarterback Brady Seger got into the act with a keeper that gained three yards to the Springfield 19.
Gabe and Colton Powers advanced the ball down to the Cat 10-yard-line.
At that point, Marysville was called for a critical holding penalty that pushed the pigskin back to the 26-yard-line.
Facing third-and-14, Seger found Gabe Powers for a gain down to the 17.
The Monarchs acted like they wanted to go for the first down on fourth-and-five.
They called timeout with 5:15 on the first-half clock before sending in the field goal unit.
Springfield dodged a bullet when Marysville’s JJ Riggsby wasn’t able to connect on a 34-yard attempt.
The Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on their next possession and returned the ball on a punt.
The Monarchs, though, did likewise on their next possession.
Springfield lost the ball on downs at the MHS 33 with 19.5 ticks on the first-half timer.
The Monarchs ran three plays to end the half.
After having deferred on the coin toss, the Wildcats took the second-half kickoff and were on the move.
Despite being sacked once by Marysville’s Erryl Will, Smoot connected with three different receivers in moving the ball into Monarch territory.
The sack left the Wildcats facing third-and-13 from the MHS 49.
Smoot hit Bradley for a big first down when the play ended at the Monarch two-yard-line.
From there, Smoot tallied his second touchdown.
Yost’s extra point elevated Springfield’s lead to 14-0.
The teams exchanged fumbles in a rapid turn-about of action.
The Monarchs recovered the Cats’ bobble at the MHS nine.
Marysville got to midfield in a few plays, but was later hurt by a false start flag.
The series ended with a punt.
The Wildcats then started the scoring drive that basically put the game out of Marysville’s reach.
Smoot completed passes to Bradley and Shawn Thigpen as the series moved from the Cats’ 14 across midfield.
The third quarter then came to an end with the Wildcats up by the 14-0 count.
Springfield basically broke the Monarchs’ back on the first play of the final stanza.
Smoot completed a pass to Delian Bradley, who moved free of several potential tackles and got down to the MHS six.
Smoot then found Dominic Turner with the scoring pass that pushed Springfield out to a 20-0 advantage.
Ben Bickerstaff blocked Yost’s extra point attempt.
By that time, however, the game had gotten away from the Monarchs.
Both teams punted as the clock wound down toward the five-minute mark.
The Wildcats rubbed salt in the Monarchs’ wounds with a little more than 90 seconds to play.
Smoot and Daylen Bradley teamed for a 38-yard scoring strike with 1:38 on the timer.
Yost’s conversion ended MHS’ campaign on the wrong side of the 27-0 verdict.
Despite the loss, Johnson told his team how proud he is of them and to hold up their heads as they accepted the regional runner-up trophy.
“Springfield came up with some big plays in the second half,” said the coach. “At times we were able to get pressure on their quarterback.
“However, he was able to pass over the top of us.
“This stings right now, but when the dust settles, the guys will be able to look back and be proud of what they accomplished this year,” said Johnson.
Marysville’s Gabe Powers (36) brings down a Springfield ball carrier. Also pictured for MHS are Braden Deere (20) and Cameron Jones (4). (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)