The old cliché…”Defense wins Championships” held true for the undefeated (15-0) and the No. 1 ranked team in Class 1, the Panther’s were still the underdog entering Saturday’s 3 p.m. kickoff vs. the 12-1 private school powerhouse Valle Catholic of St. Genevie.
Valle Catholic came into the game looking at their 18th trip to the class 1 finals, 14 times coming away with the state title and looking for their 15th on Saturday.
Averaging just over 45 points per game, who wouldn’t favor the Warriors in this game. An estimated 3,000 plus Monroe City faithful who filled the stands at Faurot Field in Columbia had faith in their blue collar gridiron boys that day as Monroe City went on to win their third state championship 12-7.
In a sport where big plays make the game Monroe City again stepped up and answered the call, this time on defense and again you can start with the four interceptions the defense forced the Warriors to throw. But where do you start? Do you start with the Warriors first offensive play where a 5’9” Nehemiah Batsell out leaped the 6’3 Tyler Blum for a sideline interception or do you go to Senior Dawson Shively’s diving interception of Valle Catholic Quarterback Mason Skaggs Hail Mary pass on the Valle 44 yard line to end Valle’s late 4th quarter effort to win? Both were big plays but what sticks out as the game breaker for Valle Catholic was when Monroe City was up 12-7, with 9:16 left to go in the 4th quarter, Valle, who had started the drive on their own 28 and were facing a 4th and goal. At the snap, Valle quarterback Mason Skaggs was forced to scramble to his right, saw Valle’s 6’3” wide receiver Blum was covered by a shorter 5’9” Nehemiah Batsell, Skaggs fires into Blum who appears to have it, but Batsell grabs the ball, out muscling it from Blum’s hands into his, stopping Valle’s attempt at a possible game winning touchdown.
To read the rest of this story call The Lake Gazette at (573) 735-3300 for an e-subscription.