Billies open playoffs with shutout win
The Monticello football team cleared its first postseason hurdle Friday, November 13, beating Vilonia 31-0 at Hyatt Field in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
MHS quarterback Joe Carmical threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Billies (11-0) amassed 464 yards of offense. Carmical finished 7 of 11 for 164 yards and had 12 carries for another 126 yards.
Monticello coach Van Paschal said he talked to his players about taking care of business early and not letting the Eagles (6-5) hang around. When the teams met for the 2008 season opener in Pine Bluff, Vilonia hung around long enough to rally for a 16-13 win.
The Billies (11-0) left little room for a rally Friday, scoring all 31 points in the first half. They led 17-0 by the end of the first quarter after cashing in on three of their first four possessions.
Monticello's only miscue of the opening period was a fumble that ended another promising drive.
"Offensively, we just took what they gave us," Paschal said, "and we were able to hit some big passes."
Vilonia's first critical mistake was deferring to the second half after winning the coin toss - Brian Handley gave MHS a 7-0 lead with a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. Tyler Paschal kicked a 22-yard field goal a few minutes later, and Carmical added an 11-yard TD run late in the first quarter.
The Eagles, meanwhile, didn't pick up a first down until the first play of the second quarter.
"Our defense stuffed them all night," Paschal said. "Our kids just played outstanding and did what it takes to get it done."
Carmical capped the scoring with a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter, throwing a 61-yarder to Reggie Rayford and a 24-yarder to Brishen Mathews.
Vilonia's best chance to avoid the shutout ended with a fumble recovered by Colby Allen at the Monticello 13-yard line with less than 3 minutes to play.
Jay Jeffers also had a fumble recovery for the Billies, while Kyle Robbins and Taylor Sweetin each recovered a fumble for Vilonia.
Monticello will host Greene County Tech (9-2) in the quarterfinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 20. The Eagles, making their first playoff appearance since 1991, rallied for a 28-24 win over Magnolia in the first round.
Greene County Tech was the only 5A East team to advance to the second round, in fact. Forrest City, Blytheville and Helena-West Helena all lost last week.
The Eagles like to run a version of the Wildcat - dubbed the Wild Eagle - with running back Standrick Williams pulling the trigger. Williams has rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging more than 7 yards per carry.
Williams is also a receiving threat with 41 catches for 692 yards and eight touchdowns. Greene County Tech quarterback Justin Johnson has completed 114 of 197 passes for 1,727 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Tanner Wright leads the Eagles on defense with 123 tackles, more than twice as many as Greene County Tech's second-leading tackler.
The Eagles average 27.7 points per game while allowing just 12.3 on defense. Their two losses to Forrest City and Helena-West Helena came by a combined total of 13 points.