MONROE CITY, Mo. — The Monroe City football team benefitted from senior Keenan Batsell nearly running for 250 yards to overwhelm South Shelby 38-12 Friday night at Lankford Field.
But it was not a completely smooth Clarence Cannon Conference victory for Monroe City.
Monroe City's second quarter was unproductive, but just as South Shelby thought it could cut into the deficit, Batsell stepped up with a big play.
Leading 16-0 after using most of the clock in the first quarter, Monroe City had a series of mistakes left the door open for South Shelby.
With 2:49 left in the second quarter Monroe City stopped South Shelby on a fourth-down play, taking possession at the their own 29-yard line. After a holding call, Batsell took over.
The all-CCC running back took a routine handoff from quarterback Kyle Hays, and took a step to the strong side of the South Shelby defense, changed directions and raced downfield for an 81-yard touchdown to give Monroe City a 24-0 lead.
“There is a reason that Keenan is all-state,” Monroe City coach David Kirby said. “That dude is a stud. He is workhorse for us.”
But there was still more fireworks to come.
South Shelby took over at its 36-yard line after the kickoff. On the first play, Monroe City's freshman linebacker Ceaton Pennewell pushed past blockers to stand a running back straight up. While Pennewell was blowing up the play, senior Antwuan Battle reached in and stole the ball, racing untouched, 32 yards to the end zone to give the Panthers a 32-0 lead.
Two touchdowns in 10 seconds helped Monroe City make up for a sluggish second quarter.
“We work on that drill every Tuesday, the rip-and-score,” Kirby said.
Monroe City came out in the second half, and allowed scores by South Shelby.
However, a 50-yard run by Battle at the 8-minute point of the fourth quarter set up a 9-yard Batsell touchdown, sealing the victory for Monroe City.
“I was pleased with our first-half performance, but we had some issues in the second half,” Kirby said. “We need to improve in the second half and learn to put together a complete four-quarter game. I have to remind myself that they are a very young squad, but they are starting to come around. We just need to make sure they become more fundamentally sound. That's what we are going to work on this week.”