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Monroe Area hands Lanier first region loss 33-20

Lanier's Ryan Edwards

Lanier's Ryan Edwards

SUGAR HILL -- After celebrating its first Region 8-AAAA win last week against Madison County, Lanier found itself on the other side of the score Friday night.

Facing Monroe Area and its vaunted offense, the Purple Hurricanes handed the Longhorns their first region loss, topping Lanier 33-20 on homecoming.

"I'm proud of our kids and the effort they gave, especially in the second half," Lanier head coach Billy Wells said. "They battled hard and showed class and character. Getting an effort like that in a region game says a lot about this team."

Monroe (5-0, 2-0) came into Friday's game averaging 56 points a game, led by speedy quarterback Stanton Truitt. That scoring prowess kicked into gear in the second half as the Purple Hurricanes outscored Lanier 21-0 in the second.

Those 21 points were needed as Lanier got off to a great start, building a 10-7 lead in the first period. Lanier opened the game with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 28-yard field goal from Ryan Edwards field goal.

Monroe answered on the ensuing drive when Truitt scored on an 8-yard run around the left end for a 7-3 lead, but Lanier came right back, getting a 5-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Grant to Domonick Jones.

But the second quarter proved to be the turning point as the Purple Hurricanes scored three TDs, while holding the Longhorns scoreless in the period.

"We had commited to stopping the run and they found a weakness in what we trying to do," Wells said.

The first TD ultimately swung the game in Monroe's favor. With 10:58 left in the period, the Lanier defense had put Monroe in a punting situation on fourth and 12 from its own 44.

Instead, Monroe pulled the fake when Truitt, who was the up back in the formation, took the short snap and hit T.J. Sigmund for a 44-yard TD pass.

Up 14-10, Monroe's next possession started on its own 2 after a nice punt by Mason Harwood. But once again, Lanier was hit hard by a big play when Kwan Brooks broke loose up the middle for a 91-yard TD run.

Truitt and Sigmund would later hook up again with 2:51 left, this time on a 17-yard TD pass. Truitt ended with 126 yards passing with two TDs and one interception on 4 of 7 attempts, while rushing for 142 yards and one score on 15 carries.

Trailing 28-10 at the start of the third, Lanier's comeback bid began when Edwards hit his second field goal of the night, this time from 33 yards out with 5:43 left in the third, but Monroe answered with a 35-yard boot from Cody Brown to bring the scored to 31-13.

Still, the Longhorns wouldn't go away and cut the score to 31-20 midway in the second when Grant scrambled in for a 10-yard TD run. Grant also had a solid night throwing the ball, connecting on 10 of 22 passes for 141 yards and one score.

Marty Sanders was his favorite target, hauling in five passes for 77 yards.

Trailing by 11 with 8:27 left, Lanier converted an onsides kick when Bryton Bergman fell on the kick at the Monroe 43, but a turnover on downs effectively put an end to any hopes of coming back.

Tario Fuller also had a good night running the ball for Lanier (3-2, 1-1), carrying the ball 27 times for 122 yards, while Brooks of Monroe also broke the century mark with 133 yards and one TD on 14 attempts.