With the 42-28 win, the Big Red (6-2, 3-2) will have its first winning season in five years. The Eagles fell to 1-7 (0-5 FC).
“It’s exciting. These kids work hard and they deserve it,” said Plymouth coach Mark Genders, who has coached the Big Red for 12 seasons. “They put the time in the offseason and (during) the season. I couldn’t say better things about my staff and my players; they’re just great people.”
Plymouth scored on all four of its possessions in the first half. The Big Red cranked out 221 yards on the ground, primarily from Lukas Montgomery and Josh Stevens, with no passing yardage.
Genders gave credit to his offensive line.
“It’s a tribute to the front because after their center went out, that was two guys we had out in the last 48 hours,” he said. “One of them had pneumonia, but the rest of the boys, (it was) next man up led by big Scotty Jennings, our big right tackle and captain leader. Those guys just do their job.
“That’s why this works,” Genders added. “That front is very physical; we pride ourselves on that.”
Stevens scored five touchdowns on 12 carries and 179 yards. The junior’s longest scoring run was 61 yards early in the third quarter to give Plymouth a 36-7 lead.
Montgomery carried the ball 13 times for 103 yards, but didn’t score.
Genders said Pymouth’s double-wing offense isn’t complicated, but efficient. He equated it to a factory.
“We focus in on what we do,” he said. “We’ve seen about every look (and) the kitchen sink and our rules are pretty simple. Our biggest focus is coming in motion and them doing their job. We try to treat it like we’re going to a factory line. When you’re on the football field, you punch the time clock and you go to work and the kids pretty much do that.”
“We could hit you a little bit on the perimeter with our speed now and condense the middle stuff,” Genders added. “Basically, coach (Aaron) Weltlin does a great job of just taking what they give us.”
Monroeville had its only lead early in the game. The Eagles drove down the field 57 yards on their first possession. Sophomore quarterback Isaac Roeder, whose first touch was a 22-yard gain, ended the drive with a 4-yard run.
“We just came out and followed the script and we executed,” Monroeville coach Scott Stecher said. “Then the pad level went high. These guys fought the whole game. Again, when you’re dressing 19 guys, it wears on you.
“These guys fought hard; I give credit to them,” he added. “We just need to keep coming out fighting next week (against Mapleton).”
The next six scores were all Plymouth. Stevens scored twice in the first quarter — a 2-yard TD at 5:52 and a 29-yard TD when he ran along the sideline, carrying defenders into the end zone with 14 seconds left.
Special teams gave the Big Red great field position on the first two possessions. Stevens had a 52-yard kickoff return for the first scoring drive. Quarterback Walker Elliott ran it 30 yards after a Monroeville punt to set up Plymouth’s second TD.
Elliott, with 5:49 until halftime, took a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. The score ended a 50-yard drive and gave the Big Red a 22-7 lead.
Stevens scored with 51 seconds left in the second quarter on a 6-yard run.
Monroeville drove the ball down the field late in the first half. But Plymouth intercepted Roeder’s pass at the 1-yard line just as the scoreboard hit triple-zeroes. The Big Red took a 28-7 lead into the locker room.
Plymouth scored twice in the third quarter. Stevens took it 61 yards to the end zone with 10:03 on the clock for a 36-7 lead. With 1:31 before the final period, he dragged Monroeville defenders for a 7-yard TD.
Plymouth had a commanding 42-7 lead going into the final 12 minutes. Monroeville’s second-team offense scored 14 of the last 21 points on the back of Brayden Schuller, who had scores of 4 and 11 yards.
The Eagles recovered an onside kick late in the game and scored on a short drive. With no time remaining, backup quarterback Meritt Key found junior wide receiver Trevor Schafer for a 6-yard touchdown.
Monroeville hosts Mapleton on Friday while Plymouth hosts South Central.
Plymouth 16 12 14 0 — 42
Monroeville 7 0 0 21 — 28
MON — Isaac Roeder 4 run (Gunner Howell kick)
PLY — Josh Stevens 2 yard (two-point conversion)
PLY — Stevens 29 run (two-point conversion)
PLY — Walker Elliott 1 run (two-point failed)
PLY — Stevens 6 run (two-point failed)
PLY — Stevens 61 run (two-point conversion)
PLY — Stevens 7 run (two-point failed)
MON — Brayden Schuller 4 run (Howell kick)
MON — Schuller 11 run (two-point conversion)
M - Trevor Schafer 6 pass from Meritt Key