Jr. Billies finish season with win
The Monticello Junior High team closed its season Monday with a 26-6 win at Hamburg.
The eighth-grade team also played, winning 8-6. The games were originally scheduled for last Thursday but were postponed due to the field conditions at Hamburg, which didn't appear to have improved much in the meantime. After a senior high game Friday and a rare couple of days without rain, the teams had to contend with a layer of thick, stiff mud.
The Jr. Lions led 6-0 after the first quarter, taking advantage of some early good fortune. Justin Martin recovered a fumble at midfield that led to a 34-yard touchdown pass from Alex Harrod to Logan Morris. The ball was tipped by a Monticello player but fell right into the hands of Morris, who had gotten behind the defense.
Monticello made its own luck from there, however. The Jr. Billies continually pounded the ball up the middle with fullback Zach Berryman, whose 3-yard touchdown run with 5:34 to play in the first half evened the score 6-6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, a long, tackle-breaking run by Beau Rush set up an 18-yard touchdown run by P.J. Binns that put MJHS on top for good, 13-6. Kameron Griffin recovered a fumble to end Hamburg's next possession, and Bo Jackson scored from 29 yards out three plays later for a 19-6 lead with just under 2 minutes to play in the period.
The final score came early in the fourth quarter after the Jr. Lions turned the ball over on downs at the Monticello 42. Jaquarius Davis broke free for a 58-yard touchdown run on the very next play.
<strong>Monticello 8, Hamburg 6</strong>
The eighth-grade Billies took an early lead and made it stick. Monticello scored on the first play from scrimmage with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Chris Kelley to Devontrius Chaffin down the left sideline.
Kelley then hooked up with Imani Riley for the two-point conversion, which turned out to be the winning margin.
Monticello's offense didn't get many more chances after the initial strike. Between their final drive of the first half and opening drive of the second half, the Lions held the ball for nearly 15 consecutive minutes.
Hamburg pulled within 8-6 on the final play of the first half with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Demonte Burns. A fumble on the conversion attempt was recovered by Sam Hopkins to help the Billies preserve the lead.
The turnover was one of seven between the two teams. The Lions took the ball to start the second half but eventually fumbled at the Monticello 12. The Billies fumbled it right back two plays later, but Monticello's Alex Rodgers intercepted a pass on the play after that.
The Billies finally closed the door after one last fumble, recovered by Austin Harper with less than 3 minutes to play. Monticello burned the rest of the clock to secure the win.
Riley and Nathan Bailey also recovered fumbles for the Billies. Peyton Brooks had a fumble recovery for Hamburg, while Tanner Oden had an interception.