That proved to be a very good thing for Monroeville, which rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to rally for a 28-16 victory over St. Mary Central Catholic in Sandusky.
"I just think these kids gut-checked themselves and they came out and played hard in the second half," Monroeville coach Scott Stecher said. "It was a whole team effort. I love these kinds of games when it's a grind-and-pound game."
The Eagles (1-1), down 16-8 at the half, opened the second with a 9-play, 54-yard scoring drive that Adam Rogers capped with a 14-yard touchdown run — and Chayce Schaub added the conversion run to knot the score
Monroeville took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard Isaac Cleary run that was set up by a shanked, 22-yard punt from the Panthers. Rogers put the finishing touches on the win with a 48-yard scoring scamper with 46 seconds remaining.
The senior finished the night with 257 yards on 23 carries, while Isaiah Scheid ended with 49 yards and a score on 14 carries.
"Adam Rogers is a smart kid," Stecher said, "He basically said, 'Just give me the ball.' He had his ups and downs last year, so I'm really happy for the kid. Our O-line played really well and our defense really played well in the second half. They brought it and basically shut them down in the second half."
The Panthers (0-2) ended the first half with 165 yards total offense and 199 for the game. They also only had eight first downs for the game with just three after the intermission.
"Congratulations to Scott and Monroeville. They played a great game and made plays when they needed to make them," SMCC coach Toby Notestine said. "It really came down to that. They made plays when they needed to and we didn't.”
The Panthers started the game with Michael Capizzi hitting J'Marshion Owens for a 63-yard scoring pass on the second play from scrimmage, but the Eagles ended the quarter with a 5-yard run from Scheid, who then threw an option pass to Avery Kluding to give Monroeville an 8-6 lead.
St. Mary CC only needed seven plays to regain the lead on Capizzi's 5-yard scoring strike to Owens that was set up by a 35-yard reception by Wil Roth. The Panthers ended the half with a punt that pinned the Eagles back at their own two on a punt, and then pulled down Isaac Roeder in the end zone for a safety.
Roeder was in the game because Schaub had to go to the sidelines with blood on his uniform.
The Eagles host Margaretta (1-1) on Friday in their home opener at Marsh Field. Monroeville will also honor its 1978 Firelands Conference championship, which was the first season under Ohio Football Hall of Fame coach Steve Ringholz, who retired after the 2009 season.
Monroeville 8 0 8 12 — 28
St. Mary CC 7 9 0 0 — 16
SM--J'Marshion Owens 63 pass from Michael Capizzi (James McClung kick)
M--Isaiah Scheid 5 run (Avery Kluding pass from Scheid)
SM--Owens 5 pass from Owens (McClung kick)
SM--safety, Isaac Roeder tackled in the end zone
M--Adam Rogers 14 turn (Chayce Schaub run)
M--Isaac Cleary 3 run (run failed)
M--Rogers 48 run (kick failed)