WOODSFIELD -- The Barnesville Shamrocks took on Monroe Central in a battle of longtime rivals for a place in the logjam of the playoff hunt in Ohio Division V, Region 19. Unfortunately for the Shamrocks, they came up on the short end of a 21-6 Friday night defeat that in all likelihood put an end to the Shamrocks' chances at the post-season.
"I thought in the first half, with the exception of the run back on special teams, our offense was definitely moving the ball fairly well and defensively I don't feel they (Monroe Central) had much defensive success in the first half," observed Barnesville coach Luke Johnson. "In the second half, there were some penalties that hurt us and created opportunities for
Monroe to capitalize on. I thought the second half was momentum-changing."
In all, Johnson's Shamrocks (5-3) were flagged eight times for 63 yards, including what could be considered a key pair of second half penalties that moved the ball from the Shamrocks' 31 to the 17 for a pass interference call and to the eight on an unsportsmanlike conduct whistled immediately after the interference. The Seminoles scored the go-ahead touchdown on the following play, adding to the importance of the Barnesville miscues.
The Seminoles (6-2), who were without the services of defensive stalwart Tyrone Kinchen who sustained a knee injury on the opening kickoff, traded possessions with the visitors throughout an uneventful first quarter before sophomore return specialist Korey Lafferre fielded a Tyler Kurtz punt on his 29 and made magic happen. After receiving a block from a teammate and making some speedy cuts, Lafferre used a wicked move to fake past Kurtz at the 11 for a 71-yard punt return touchdown. Jim Baker kicked the point-after for an early 7-0 lead at the 3:22 mark in the first.
Barnesville struck back in the second quarter when Kurtz dumped a pass to Tyler Fitzpatrick, who shed a pair of would-be tacklers on his way to a 37-yard touchdown. Dave Brown's point-after was blocked by Brock Jones, leaving the 'Noles up, 7-6, with 4:42 left in the half.
The Shamrocks were driving again near the end of the quarter before Monroe clamped down, sacking Kurtz on the last two plays of the half.
Barnesville could not move the ball on its initial drive of the second half and had to punt.
After Tyler Kinchen got a nifty 42-yard completion to Lafferre to bring the hosts to the Shamrocks' 31, another pass was lofted on the following play, leading to the aforementioned penalties. After the calls, tailback Korey
Hogue raced in from eight yards out for the score. Baker was true again for a 14-6 lead with 8:48 left in the third.
After trading possessions, the Shamrocks were moving towards midfield when Kurtz was picked off by Kory Hill. From there, the Seminoles mounted a 10-play drive, iced when Kinchen found a wide open Jonathan Muntz in the end zone from eight yards out for a touchdown. Baker hit the PAT again to seal the 21-6 verdict with 8:24 remaining.
Monroe outgained Barnesville, 255-236, with an 18-10 edge in first downs.
Kurtz passed for 163 yards with one interception and a score, while rushing for a team-high 47 yards. Fitzpatrick had four receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Kinchen rushed 20 times for 111 yards and passed for 89 for Monroe. Lafferre finished with 79 yards on punt returns before going down with a knee injury in the third.
NEXT -- Barnesville treks to New Martinsville, W. Va. to face state-ranked Magnolia on Friday at 7:30 p.m.