Bellbrook routs Monroe in SWBL East showdown

Bellbrook's Seth Borondy looks for room to run behind lead blockers Ashton Ault (25) and Nick Etienne (45) during Friday's game at Monroe. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

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Bellbrook's Seth Borondy looks for room to run behind lead blockers Ashton Ault (25) and Nick Etienne (45) during Friday's game at Monroe. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

MONROE – A decisive 41-19 loss to Ross and its option offense in last year’s postseason was an eyeopener for Bellbrook. Friday, the Eagles returned the favor.

Playing near flawless football, visiting Bellbrook dominated Monroe 42-10 in a key Southwestern Buckeye League East Division tilt at Hornets Stadium. The Eagles, ranked 13th in the Division III AP state poll and seventh in Region 12 computer points, scored on every offensive possession – minus one-play kneel down drives to end the second and fourth quarters – and limited Monroe, ranked 12th in the state and second in Region 12, to six total offensive possessions, 179 yards rushing and 186 yards total. The Hornets were averaging 403 and 426, respectively.

Bellbrook (7-2, 5-1) has won nine straight against Monroe (7-2, 5-1).

“This was kind of like a redemption game for us, because last year we lost to an option team in the playoffs,” Bellbrook senior defensive back Gavyn Roop said. “It was our chance to show we have improved and can stop a hard-running football team. Everyone has a job against the option. We stuck to ours and got it done.”

“(Bellbrook has) been at the top of our league for a long time and we’re chasing those guys,” Monroe head coach Bob Mullins said. “We’re a young, talented team and we just didn’t do what we needed to do tonight. Bellbrook did a great job of execution and they’re physical. I thought we matched their physicality, we just made too many mental mistakes and turnovers. It was just a really bad game for us. But I will give them credit, that’s a really, really good football team over there.”

Monroe surprised everyone with an onside kick to start the game, but the recovery led to one of three four-play drives for the Hornets. When Monroe got the ball again, it trailed 14-0.

Following a 9-yard touchdown run by Nick Etienne, Roop covered the ensuing kickoff for the Eagles at the Monroe 38. It was one of two kickoff recoveries for Roop, who also had an interception in the end zone and caught a crucial fourth down pass to keep Bellbrook’s first drive alive.

“We actually talked about that before the game,” Bellbrook head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “We wanted to sky it to the right spot because we’ve got some speed guys on the edge. We figured if we could get a couple recoveries we could keep the ball out of their hands. They’re a very potent offense.”

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Said Roop: “We practice our sky kicks a lot. The first one was all our kicker (Conner Peh). He put the first one in a perfect spot and the second one I got there fast enough to get it.”

Seth Borondy ran for two touchdowns and threw another to Ethan Jenkins for the Eagles, who also got touchdown runs from Ashton Ault and Carson Labensky.

Monroe scored on a 30-yard second quarter field goal from Grant Martinez and a 39-yard fourth quarter touchdown run from Elijah Jackson.

With a win next week over visiting Valley View, Bellbrook will claim a share of the East Division title. Monroe can do the same with a win at undefeated Eaton. It would be the Hornets first league title since winning the SWBL Buckeye Division in 2009 with Carlisle and Waynesville.

The Hornets, who went 4-5 last year, have secured their third winning season in 11 years and first since 2015. Just one senior ranks among the team’s top 11 tacklers and the top two rushers (Jackson and Ryan Miles) are underclassmen.

“It was just not a good night for Monroe football, but we’ll regroup. We’re a good team and we will be ready for Eaton next week,” Mullins said. “Our team is young and in order to win games like this, you have to play in games like this. That is a very experienced group over there. They know how to play in games like this. Our kids are learning. We’ll get there.”

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