MONROEVILLE — One thing is for sure, it will be a madhouse next Friday night at Marsh Field.
The Monroeville Eagles did their part, defeating Ashland Crestview 28-20 on Friday, setting up a showdown with Western Reserve, which beat South Central 49-0 in Firelands Conference action.
The Eagles will bring a 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the FC record into the Western Reserve matchup. The Riders are 5-0 and 2-0.
The game will also be the Eagles’ homecoming.
Monroeville coach Dan Periat was thrilled to get past Crestview.
“That was an outstanding football team,” he said. “They are the best 2-3 team that I know of right now.”
The Cougars hurt themselves all night, losing four fumbles, three in the first half.
The Eagles struck first on a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior Ryan Stower to classmate Sam Schwab. The extra point was wide right, but the hosts were on top 6-0 after one quarter.
The Cougars answered with 8:40 to go in the second on Mason Minnich’s 1-yard run. Tanner Graybeal added the PAT and Crestview took the lead at 7-6.
Monroeville then made a couple big plays right before the half.
Stower hooked up with senior Skylar Old on a 74-yard pass play that put the ball on the Cougar 8. Senior Chris Phillips covered those 8 yards, giving the home team a 12-7 lead at halftime.
Crestview took the second-half kick and drove 60 yards in less than five minutes. The drive was capped by junior Garrick Montgomery’s 6-yard run. The PAT made it 14-12 in favor of the Cougars.
The Eagles scored the next two TDs.
Junior Cory Long bulled in from 3 yards out to make the Eagle advantage 18-14. Long also ran in the 2-point conversion extending the lead to 20-14.
Stower and Long would connect five minutes later on a 55-yard TD pass. Stower hit Schwab for two points and the Eagles were on top, 28-14 with 11:49 left in the game.
The Cougars added their final touchdown with 6:55 to go on a Matt Hall to Montgomery 27-yard pass. The extra point was blocked.
The Eagle defense made that 8-point lead stand up the rest of the way.
Stower finished the night 8-of-12 passing for 183 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.
Long had four receptions for 89 yards and a TD.
Minnich paced the Cougars with 128 yards rushing on 25 tries with a TD.
“Our offensive coordinator Brad Dunlap made great calls tonight,” Periat said. “The 2-point play, the screen, the throw-back — he called a great game. His play-calling was amazing.
“We were able to spring some big plays tonight and that was big for momentum,” Periat said.
Periat knows the game next week against Western Reserve will be wild.
“No doubt,” he said. “I can’t wait. The word is, they are the team to beat.”
Crestview coach Chad Coffman knew his Cougars (2-3, 0-2) let another one slip away.
“Obviously, you need to come out and be sound in what you do,” he said. “We made too many mistakes tonight.
“They were able to get in situations where they took advantage of some breakdowns,” he said.
The Cougars go to New London on Friday.
“For us, it’s really simple,” Coffman said. “We need to play better, more sound football.”
Score by quarters
Crestview 0 7 7 6 — 20
M’ville 6 6 8 8 — 28
Stower-Schwab 13 pass (kick failed) (2:56, 1st)
Minnich 1 run (Graybeal kick) (8:40, 2nd)
Phillips 8 run (pass failed) (1:54, 2nd)
Montgomery 6 run (Graybeal kick) (7:23, 3rd)
Long 3 run (Long run) (4:36, 3rd)
Stower-Long 55 pass (Stower-Schwab pass) (11:49, 4th)
Hall-Montgomery (kick blocked) (6:55, 4th)