MONROE CITY, Mo. | On the way to Monroe City's dominating display of offensive power in an overwhelming 46-6 win over visiting Winfield on Friday night, the Panthers posted some big plays.
Consider a run-and-catch near the end of the first quarter involving junior quarterback Kyle Hays and senior wide receiver Logan Buhlig.
Monroe City was up 14-0 with 1:02 left in the quarter. Buhlig lined up at his wide receiver spot on first down from the Winfield 30-yard line and spotted a safety cheating toward the line of scrimmage to cover a tight end.
The lanky 6-foot-4 receiver glanced at his junior quarterback .
“Kyle and I looked at each other and I gave him a signal, a wink,” Buhlig said. “Right away, we both knew would get the ball. I have to give everything to the line. Kyle had a bunch of time to throw. He put it in perfectly. Without the line, that does not happen. It was perfectly in stride. I did not have to slow down at all.”
The play was redemption of sorts for Buhlig.
“Last year, against Bowling Green, I dropped one wide open,” Buhlig said. “I did not want to do that again, so I took it to the house.”
Not the be outdone, there were big plays on defense, such as some huge stops, including a sack, by junior defensive lineman Bo Patterson.
Then there was freshman Waylon DeGrave. With Winfield driving at 2:59 left in the first half deep in Monroe City territory, DeGrave jumped high to intercept a pass from Winfield's Draven Ham and race untouched for an 85-yard touchdown.
Winfield had no answers for the potent Monroe City attack. The Panthers posted 443 total yards of offense. According to game statistics compiled by KWBZ-FM, Hays went 3-for-9 for 168 yards, including the 70-yard strike to Buhlig, who ended the night with
But it was the Monroe City ground game that dominated. The Panthers ran for 275 yards with a balanced rushing attack that failed to produce a 100-yard runner. Ceaton Pennewell came close with 99 yards, while Joshua Talton ran for 59 yards. Eight other Panthers gained yards, including 5-foot-6 sophomore running back Landon Utterback, who ran for 38 late-game yards.
Monroe City head coach David Kirby said that his team played a complete game and that he was pleased his running attack was so balanced.
“In the past, we have always done a good job of spreading the wealth around with the ball,” Kirby said. “We would have a kid who would carry the load but this year, we knew they would be a little younger so we are trying to create some formations that put the in different positions to finding room to run and they are doing a great job with it.”
Kirby said the big plays are not the result of any change in the approach of the Panthers.
“The big thing we have system that we have had in place for eight years,” Kirby said. “We are never going to change the system. This year, we have some kids who are athletic and can stretch the field vertically and our offensive line is giving us great pass protection, which gives us opportunities to take shots down the field.”
Monroe City travels to South Shelby on Friday to play in a Clarence Cannon Conference game.