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Monarchs suffer road loss to Larned

Published on -9/16/2012, 7:12 PM

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LARNED -- In a battle between the Thomas More Prep-Marian High School and Larned football teams, it was an even fight for much of the game, but as the night wore on, TMP just fell further and further behind.

By the end of the night, the TMP sideline was silent as players limped off the field toward the locker room. TMP lost to Larned 31-21.

Larned is enjoying its best start (3-0) since 1999. First-year head coach A.B. Stokes and a large group of upperclassmen have uplifted the perennially downtrodden football team.

"They impressed me on film, and they impressed me today," said TMP head coach John Montgomery. "They did exactly what I thought they would. They are a team with a lot of confidence, as they should. They are having some success."

Meanwhile, the Monarchs were bruised, battered and beaten, falling to 1-2.

TMP suffered several injuries that knocked senior tight end and defensive end Anthony Walters (shoulder), senior wide receiver and defensive back Tanner Unrein (shoulder) and junior wide receiver Ryan Mayorga (head) out of the game.

Montgomery couldn't specify the severity of the injuries after the game.

"We have several guys with bumps and bruises," Montgomery said.

"We had a guy who took a shot to the knee here and took a shot to the knee there. Unfortunatley, that's the game of football. You hate to see that happen to your guys when they are battling hard."

Walters, an all-league player last season and one of the team's best players, was injured prior to halftime, while Unrein and Mayorga were hurt in the second half.

"It was rough, but the young guys stepped up," said senior Luke Brull, running back and linebacker. "They want us to play through that, play with energy from that and play with them in mind."

Despite the injuries, the Monarchs kept pace with Larned, but every time they got momentum on their side, Larned snagged it back, scoring a touchdown on every possession following a TMP score.

"At times, our offense was clicking and our defense was not," Montgomery said. "At times our defense was clicking, and our offense was struggling. If we can get it all working at the same time, we are going to have a lot of success."

Brull and sophomore Nick Schmidt got an equal share of TMP's carries, rushing for 66 yards and 59 yards respectively.

Senior quarterback Shane Zimmerman completed 12 of 28 passes for 183 yards and an interception.

With all the injuries to the receiving corps, seven receivers made catches.

Senior wide receiver Kade Megaffin led the team with three catches for 36 yards, and junior wide receiver Taylor Wasinger had two catches for 33 yards. Walters had two catches for 34 yards prior to halftime, and Unrein and Mayorga each had one reception for 34 and 25 yards, respectively.

"It was a frustrating loss, because I knew we were better (than that)," Brull said. "... We just missed a couple assignments."

Larned senior running back Brady Keith chipped away at the Monarchs' defense before busting several long runs. Keith finished the night with 179 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Jamil Shoemaker, Larned's junior wide receiver, might have been the game changer for the Indians, as he had six catches for 89 yards. Shoemaker made several long catches in the first half that led to two of Larned's scores.

"(Shoemaker) made some nice plays," Montgomery said. "He found a way to get open. We had a couple blown coverages where we made some mental mistakes, and he made us pay for it."

The Monarchs actually scored first, as Brull ran right on a toss play and cut left across the field for a 54-yard touchdown.

However, Larned responded with a four-play, 73-yard drive that included a 36-yard and 27-yard pass to Shoemaker. Larned quarterback Easton Palmer capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to the right corner of the end zone.

TMP scored again with 6:04 remaining in the first half, as Zimmerman scored on a 20-yard run, but Larned struck back with a 61-yard screen pass to Keith. Shoemaker scored on the next play with a 1-yard run.

Then on Larned's last drive of the first half, the Indians converted two fourth downs en route to a late touchdown. Keith converted one fourth down with a 24-yard run on a fake punt, and Shoemaker caught a 28-yard touchdown pass to convert on a fourth-and-5 to take Larned's first lead of the game 18-14.

Larned kept the attack going in the third quarter, as Palmer threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Brayden Smith with 6:37 remaining.

Schmidt responded on TMP's next drive with a 12-yard touchdown run, but Keith responded to that with a 66-yard touchdown run to put Larned up 31-21.

The Monarchs had opportunities to narrow the lead in the fourth quarter, but they failed to convert a fourth-and-1 on Larned's 22 and threw an interception in Larned's end zone on another possession.

"It was back and forth, back and forth," Montgomery said.

"At times, things moved fairly seamlessly and, at other times, we would shoot ourselves in the foot or make one crucial or critical mistake that would unfortunately impact the entire play. We have to get all 11 players on the field working on the same page."

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