Muddy field conditions hampered the Indians somewhat, but not enough to prevent Seneca from downing the Monett Cubs 27-0 Friday night.
Rain began to fall as the Cubs kicked off to Seneca to open the contest, and didn’t let up until nearly game’s end. The rain, and the Cubs’ defensive line, were factors at first, as the mud slowed Seneca’s go-to man, Braxton Graham and Monett ganged up on the Seneca running back. At one point early in the game, Graham was held to a single yard on eight, yes eight, carries as in play after play, he was covered by up to five Cub linemen.
But despite the poor conditions, Graham broke free twice for amazing touchdown runs, and had three of the four touchdowns of the night.
Seneca started putting points on the board early in the evening. The Indians’ first scoring drive was based on a near turnover, as Dalan Merriman nearly intercepted a pass from Cub field general Zach Hammond, allowing the Indians to recover the football at the Monett 15-yard line. Two plays later, Seneca quarterback Payton Rawlins pitched the pigskin to Graham for the successful carry. The point after attempt was good, making it 7-0 Seneca.
But the next few possessions were plagued by fumbles and dropped footballs, as conditions worsened and the rain increased. First, Monett fumbled on the kickoff return, allowing Seneca to take possession. But then, Seneca’s Ethan Dorland dropped the ball, but the Indians were able to recover it. Then Monett took the orb back on a punt and began a long drive to no avail to end the first stanza.
In the second quarter, Seneca had a long drive marked by two first downs and a helmet to helmet penalty against the Cubs. Seneca would end up giving the ball back to Monett on downs, who would then punt the pigskin back to the Indians. Seneca would then punt back to the Cubs, who would again punt back to the Indians.
This set up one of the biggest plays of the game. With small gains, the Indians ended up on their own 24 yard line. Taking the handoff from Rawlins and scouting his way around several Monett defenders, Graham sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown with not quite 21 seconds left in the half. A point after kick was good, making it 14-0 Seneca, where it stood when the half ended.
Midway through the third stanza, Graham again got past a bruising line of Cub linemen to carry the ball some 60 yards into the end zone for another Seneca TD. A blocked point after kick kept the score at 20-0 Indians.
On Monett’s next possession, the Cubs dropped the ball at their own three yardline on fourth down, setting the Indians up into scoring position. Taking the snap, Rawlins kept the ball for the TD. The point after was good, making it 27-0 Seneca.
Page 2 of 2 - By the fourth quarter, you could tell where most of the plays had occurred by looking at the field: a muddy, boggy patch could be seen directly in the field extending from one 30 yard line to the other.
But good news, the rain let up!
The fourth was marked by fumbles and dropped balls and back-to-back Monett quarterback sacks at the hands of lineman Mac Yust and defensive back Jacob Truelove. A fumble would give the ball back to the Indians, but Monett would get it back nearly immediately on a dropped snap. The Cubs strove to put some points on the board, gaining two first downs in the process, but no dice. And Graham finally got a little rest as running back Dylan Snow was put into the game in his place late in the final stanza. Snow gained a pair of first downs for some rushing yards and a little game experience. But on the final snap, Rawlins took a knee, bringing the wet, sloppy, slippery game to a close.
Now 5-3, the Indians will travel to Granby to face the East Newton Patriots. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.