It was worth the wait for the host Polar Bears.
Behind the strong arm of junior quarterback Spencer Michel, who for the second week in a row threw for over 300 yards, Margaretta jumped into the win column with a convincing 35-12 non-conference victory over the Eagles.
In last week's lost to Western Reserve, Michel threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, both to 6-foot 8-inch receiver Mitch Raifsnider.
Against Monroeville, Michel connected on 27-of-39 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns, with three of those going to Raifsnider, covering five yards in the second quarter, four yards in the third, and seven yards in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
The most crucial play of the game, though, went to 6-5 senior Daltyn Wiedbrauk with just over two seconds left in the first half, a 4-yard reception in the endzone after a Michel scramble kept the play alive. Brycetyn Hedden's second two-point conversion run of the half game Margaretta a 22-12 halftime lead to proved to be the cushion the Bears needed in posting their first win of the season.
"That fourth-down decision to go for it, we have all the faith in our offensive line, and we've got a big back," said Margaretta coach Todd Pooch. "Our mind was made up, we can get it and we've got two minutes, we can throw it, and we can get down and get some points."
That 81-yard drive was kept alive on a gutsy call as the Bears went for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 28 with 1:09 left in the first half. Hedden got the call, reached forward as he was being tackled, got a good spot after the whistle, and secured the first down by just inches.
Hedden finished the game with 135 yards on 30 attempts. His effort on that chain-moving play kept the Bears in business, with Wiedbrauk making three of his six catches in that span. The score was set up on a 32-yard reception from Michel to Clay Teschner to take the ball to the Eagle 4-yard line, with enough time left to get that all-important touchdown to give Margaretta a 10-point halftime lead.
Teschner opened the scoring on an 80-yard touchdown reception on the Bears second possession, taking a swing pass out of the backfield, finding an opening, and then sprinting down the right sideline to paydirt. That was just a two-play drive for Margaretta, which was not the norm. Besides the 10-play first-half ending drive, the Bears had a 13-play and two 16-play drives for their other scores.
Not only were they chewing up yardage, but they were controlling the clock and keeping the Eagle offense off the field. Teschner had seven receptions for 168 yards, while Raifsnider had 11 for 95 yards. Wiedbrauk added six catches for 79 yards.
Monroeville finished with just 150 yards of offense, with 133 yards on the ground. The Bears finished with 126 yards rushing, giving them 491 yards of offense on 81 plays.
Ricky Ringer led the Eagles with 72 yards rushing on 14 attempts, with touchdown runs of 1- and 22-yards. Ethan David picked Michel off twice in the first half, the only turnovers of the game.
"I think we've got to get back to doing the little things," Monroeville coach Scott Stetcher said. "(Not) wrapping up and tackling enabled them to go on those long drives. Credit to them, they ran hard. They played their best game all year. That was not an 0-2 team, that could very well be a 3-0 team sitting right now. They're athletic."
The Eagles visit South Central (2-1) on Friday in the Firelands Conference opener.
"We've got to get back to hard work," Stetcher said. "We face a similar opponent (Friday). We've just got to get back to playing Monroeville football. It's gut-check time, and our goals are still out there."
Monroeville 6 6 0 0 — 12
Margaretta 8 14 6 7 — 35
MRG — Clay Teschner 80 pass from Spencer Michel(Brycetyn Hedden run)
MON — Ricky Ringer 1 run (pass failed)
MRG — Mitch Raifsnider 5 pass from Michel (pass failed)
MON — Ringer 22 run (run failed)
MRG — Daltyn Wiedbrauk 4 pass from Michel Hedden run
MRG — Raifsnider 4 pass from Michel (pass failed)
MRG — Raifsnider 7 pass from Michel (Jager Hacker kick)