MONROEVILLE — A huge Firelands Conference showdown is now set.
Western Reserve held up its end of the bargain with a hard-fought 37-27 win over Monroeville on Friday night at Marsh Field.
With the win, the Roughriders improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the FC.
Couple that with St. Paul’s 49-8 win against South Central and you have the makings of one of the biggest FC games in memory this Friday at Western when the Flyers (5-1, 3-0) visit.
Western Reserve coach Mike Stoll was fired up about Friday’s win over the Eagles.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “We had good balance tonight and I want to give our offensive coordinator Thom Lesiecki credit.
“I like the way our guys battled,” Stoll said. “We started well, but then bogged down for a bit, but we’re a big-play team.”
The Rider ground game receives much recognition, but it was the play of junior QB Kyle Pressley that really shined Friday as he connected on 14-of-19 passes for 156 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
“That’s big for Kyle,” Stoll said.
Western senior Darren Johnson caught six passes for 78 yards, while junior Jeff Abner had six receptions for 65 yards and a TD.
Stoll knows next week’s game against St. Paul will be wild.
“We’re hoping,” he said. “I really want to thank our fans tonight.”
The Riders jumped out to a 7-0 lead after one quarter thanks to Pressley’s 1-yard TD run. The Josh Good point after capped the first-scoring drive.
The Roughriders scored again at the 10:15 mark of the second on a 1-yard TD run by Blake Buckhannon. The Good extra point made it 14-0. The drive was set up by Johnson’s 39-yard interception return to the Eagle 1-yard line.
Buckhannon finished with 122 yards rushing on 30 tries with one TD.
The Eagles responded by scoring two times before the half.
The first was a 1-yard TD plunge by Sam Schwab, while the second was a 47-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Stower to Justin Jones. The Cory Smith PAT knotted the game at 14-14 at the half.
Western took control in the third quarter.
A Good 31-yard field goal put the visitors up 17-14 with 5:40 to go in the third.
The Riders scored three minutes later on a 51-yard TD from sophomore Wille Roth.
Western Reserve went up 31-14 with 10:53 to go in the fourth when Pressley and Abner hooked up on a 13-yard scoring pass.
The Eagles fought back with a 20-yard TD pass from Stower to senior Chris Phillips to cut the Monroeville deficit to 31-21.
Western came right back with a 1-yard QB keeper to make it 37-21.
Stower found junior Cory Long from 14 yards away to complete the scoring.
Stower finished the night 12-of-24 passing for 272 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jones caught four passes for 119 yards and a TD for the Eagles.
“They are good and have a lot of weapons,” Monroeville coach Dan Periat said about the Riders.
“They have a lot of speed and athleticism,” he added. “We knew coming in they had three guys who could score from anywhere on the field and two of them did that.
“But I’m really proud of our kids for fighting until the end,” Periat said.
Monroeville (4-2, 2-1) goes to Plymouth on Friday for an FC contest.
“I’ve watched Plymouth on film and they are good on run defense and they are running the ball better,” he said.
Score by quarters
Western 7 7 10 13 — 37
Mville 0 14 0 13 — 27
WR — Pressley 1 run (Good kick)
WR — Buckhannon 1 run (Good kick)
MON — Schwab 1 run (Smith kick)
MON — Jones 47 pass from Stower (Smith kick)
WR — Good 31 field goal
WR — Roth 51 run (Good kick)
WR — Abner 13 pass from Pressley (Good kick)
MON — Phillips 20 pass from Stower (Smith kick)
WR — Pressley 1 run (kick blocked)
MON — Long 14 pass from Stower (pass failed)