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Monroe Holds Off Mason
Monroe holds off Mason
It had been since the last week of October in 2011 since William Monroe enjoyed a win. While the Dragons had a tough first seven weeks of the season, fourth-year coach Mark Sanford never questioned the effort of his staggeringly young team.
On two previous occasions, first in the season opener against Nelson County and a month later against Strasburg, Monroe’s has hung up 40 points or more and still been taken down. Against George Mason, the Dragons avoided a third such occasion as they exploded in the first half and hung on in the second to win on homecoming, 48-35.
“We told them that it’s hard to go 0-7 for anybody,” Sanford said. “For them to never quit, that’s something we’ve praised them for all year. Obviously they’re learning a lot at a rapid pace. For them to come out and do what it took to win here tonight – you know it got kind of dicey in the second half – but we tell them that champions find a way to win and that’s what they did.”
It was big day for the Monroe offense as not only did running back Cody Perkins break through for three touchdown a 33-carry 139-yard performance, but quarterback Jack Morris had the aerial attack clicking too as he threw for four tourchdowns and finished with 217 yards on 7 of 13 passing.
“We had been making tons of mistakes the last few weeks,” Jack Morris said. “Today we weren’t perfect by any means, but we improved a lot and we’ve gotten better each week.”
The Dragons saw success on their first drive when Jack Morris hit Dakwan Morris for a 35-yard score. After the Monroe defense forced a turnover on downs, Perkins made it 13-0 on a 34-yard scamper.
While it took Mason a while to get rolling offensively, the Mustangs ran the ball effectively for 413 yards on the night. Near the end of the first quarter, the visitors got on the board with a 2-yard Grant Hagler rushing touchdown.
After a bit of a lull for both teams, Jack Morris padded the Dragons lead with a 43-yard rushing touchdown. The next Monroe possession resulted in Perkins scoring on a run from 39 yards out. The one after that finished with Jack Morris finding Dustin Knight in stride for a 20-yard strike to make it 34-7.
“It’s hard when you’re playing in man coverage on someone who can run like Dakwan can,” Sanford said. “They focused so much on him that that opened Dustin on the other side. We just took advantage of the schemes they were playing.”
Mason was able to stop the bleeding and pick up a 20-yard Dmontae Noble rushing TD, but left too much clock with 1:07 until the break. It took six seconds for Jack Morris to find Knight again, this time for a 53-yard touchdown pass to finish up a furious first half, 41-14.
“We worked hard in practice all week making sure we executed on offense,” Dakwan Morris said. “I think we just came ready to play.”
The second half belonged to the Mustangs as they outscored the Dragons 21-7. Jack Morris and Dakwan Morris connected for a 63-yard touchdown on a quick slant, but that was it for the rest of the way. Mason on the other hand went for three lengthy drives behind Hagler and Noble, but could not score quickly enough as Monroe went to work on the clock and wrapped up the win.
The Dragons (1-7) now travel to Manassas Park on Friday at 7:30 p.m.