Photo and story by Adrian Johnson
A hard-fought game kept fans on the edge of their seats Friday, ending with a Monroe win in overtime.
Mount Vernon took the opening kickoff and moved the ball to the Bearcat 33-yard line before turning the ball over on a fumble. Monroe’s offense, which has showed signs of improvement over the past few weeks, took over the ball and moved to the Bulldog 24-yard line before settling for a Tanner Ohlsen 30-yard field goal with 6:56 remaining in the first quarter.
The first quarter closed as Mount Vernon attempted a field goal of their own, but the kick was wide right and Monroe led, 3 – 0.
The second quarter was a defensive battle until Monroe was able to march down to the Mount Vernon nine-yard line. Penalties stalled the Bearcats, and with 3:44 left in the quarter, Monroe’s Tanner Ohlsen kicked a 33-yard field goal, putting Monroe ahead, 6 – 0.
After the kickoff Mount Vernon, running back Brandon Hayman took the ball on four carries to the Monroe eight-yard line. With 17 seconds left on the clock, Mount Vernon quarterback Tristan Brock hit Robert Monroe in the corner of the end zone to put the Bulldogs ahead, 7 – 6, as the first half ended.
Early in the second half, Monroe’s Chase DiMonda forced a Bulldog fumble and Shanden Mixayphone recovered the ball. The Bearcats took advantage of the miscue, and four plays later quarterback Andrew Zimmerman connected with Hunter Bingham on a six-yard pass in the far left side of the end zone. The point-after attempt failed, bringing the score to Bearcats 12, Mount Vernon 7. Mount Vernon closed the scoring gap by capping the next drive on a Tommy Park 28-yard field goal.
Monroe looked to answer and drove down to the Mount Vernon 10-yard line before Bulldog defensive back Danny Reyes intercepted Andrew Zimmerman. The third quarter ended with Monroe 12 and Mount Vernon 10.
In the fourth quarter, Zimmerman connected on three occasions with key passes to Robbie Schab, with the final toss of 34 yards to the Bulldog one-yard line. This set up a Gabe Moore three-yard run for a touchdown putting the Bearcats up, 18 – 12. The point-after attempt failed.
The celebration was short-lived because Mount Vernon answered with a touchdown on a 67-yard run by running back Brandon Hayman. The point-after failed, leaving the score tied at 18. Mount Vernon mounted another scoring drive later in the quarter, and with 20 seconds left on the clock Tommy Park missed a field goal attempt wide to the left.
In overtime Monroe appeared to be stalled on fourth down when Zimmerman hit Shanden Mixayphone to set the Bearcats up at first and goal from the eight-yard line. Monroe running back Mckinley Braa scored up the middle and Tanner Ohlsen added the extra point to put the Bearcats up, 25 – 18.
Mount Vernon took only one play to answer the Bearcats score when quarterback Tristan Brock scored on a 25 yard run from scrimmage. Tommy Park’s point-after attempt was wide to the right, giving the Bearcats the victory, 25 – 24.
The win resulted in eliminating the Bulldogs from the playoffs, and t secured the Bearcats second place in the league, setting up a meeting with Cascade next Friday in Monroe. Monroe finished second to Lake Stevens in league play due to the earlier loss to the Vikings.