By Kevin Johnson
The Mount Vernon Bulldogs played spoilers Friday night, not only ruining the Monroe Bearcats’ Homecoming and Senior Night, but also ruining their chance at a perfect Wesco North Division league season.
Melvin Walser caught a touchdown and returned a Bearcat fumble, and the Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points en route to 21-14 Wesco North Division season finale upset at Monroe High School.
Coming off an exciting overtime victory over Arlington on Oct. 12, a victory that allowed the ‘Cats to clinch the Wesco North No. 1 seed, the Bearcats (3-1 in league, 4-4 overall) came out flat in their regular season finale, allowing the Bulldogs (1-3, 2-6) to post their first North Division victory and hand the Bearcats their first division loss.
Running back Gabe Moore, who set a school record with 322 yards rushing against Arlington, was held in check by the stout Bulldog defense, rushing 22 times for 73 yards. Max Blais added eight carries for 28 yards and quarterback Hunter Bingham rushed nine times for 20 yards and a TD, adding 40 yards in the air.
After playing to a scoreless first quarter, the Bearcats scored twice in the second quarter when quarterback Hunter Bingham scored on a keeper from 12 yards out and Blais added a 1-yard TD run with 4:26 remaining in the half.
The Bulldogs made some adjustments in the second half. Walser caught his first touchdown, a 24-yard pass from do-it-all sophomore quarterback Tristan Brock midway through the third quarter.
Two plays later the ‘Cats fumbled, Walser scooped it up and raced 35 yards for the tying touchdown.
“We made some mistakes in the second half that really hurt us. We didn’t play with the enthusiasm that we came out with,” Monroe Head Coach Dick Abrams said.
After six Bearcat plays the Bulldogs got the ball again, and made the most of it with Brock hitting Miles Witt on a 17-yard TD pass that quieted the Monroe faithful.
Monroe would muster no more than four first downs the remainder of the game.
“They played well and we didn’t execute like we needed to,” Abrams said.
Monroe had one last attempt in the fourth quarter but Bingham’s desperation pass on a fourth-and-17 was intercepted. Mount Vernon used up the rest of the clock to seal its second win of the season.
Despite the loss, Monroe advances to play the Wesco South No. 1 seeded Jackson Timberwolves next Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
The winner of that game will enter the District 1/2/3/4 4A football playoffs as the conference’s No. 1 seed; the loser will be No. 2.
Jackson defeated Monroe, 41-26, in the season opener.
“(Jackson) has been really good all year. They are really talented. We’ll have to play one of our best games,” Abrams said of next week’s opponent.
Mount Vernon – 0 0 21 0 – 21
Monroe – 0 14 0 0 – 14
Monroe – Bingham 12 run (Ohlsen kick)
Monroe – Blais 1 run (Ohlsen kick)
MV – Walser 24 pass from Brock (Brock kick)
MV – Walser 30 yard fumble return (Brock kick)
MV – Witt 17 pass from Brock (Brock kick)