Khamoni Robinson

Khamoni Robinson

MONROE — The Monroe High Redhawks scored 24 unanswered points in the first half of Friday’s 38-9 home win over archrival Forest Hills that gives them their first conference title since 2016.

This is Monroe’s 10th consecutive victory over the Yellow Jackets, who finished the regular season 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the Rocky River Conference.

Monroe had 307 yards of offense and held Forest Hills 185 while also forcing two Yellow Jackets turnovers.

Monroe will enter the playoffs with a 6-1 overall record and finished 4-0 in the RRC. The Redhawks have outscored the conference opponents by a combined score of 174-15.

Head coach Johnny Sowell’s team has averaged 46.2 points per game since their season-opening loss to Marvin Ridge on Aug. 20.

“One thing about tonight is that it is a rivalry game,” Sowell said. “It’s probably one of the strongest in the county, and it has been since I was a little kid. Forest Hills battled. We tell our guys that we’ve got goals. Our goal is not to win the conference championship but the state championship. That’s always going to be our goal as long as I am here.”

Junior quarterback Khamoni Robinson started the scoring when he threw his first touchdown pass from 6 yards out to Nate Crosby within the first five minutes. Robinson finished the game 11-of-21 for 176 yards and three touchdowns on the night.

“It feels good,” Robinson said about winning the conference. “COVID really messed a lot of things up, so it’s been really a blessing … We’re going to redeem ourselves.”

Sophomore Zach Melton punched in another score from 6 yards out to extend the Redhawks’ lead to 14-0 three minutes later. Forest Hills began driving the length of the field until junior Kemari Laney recovered a fumble for Monroe at end of the first quarter. This was Laney’s first career fumble recovery as a first-year starter.

The second quarter saw Gabe Crowder (4-of-12 for 28 yards) pick up a pair of first downs for the Yellow Jackets to limit the RedHawks from doing any more damage. However, Monroe got a 24-yard field goal by Angel Valenzuela with 6:37 left. Robinson found decorated receiver Shaleak “Punch” Knotts — a University of Maryland commit — for his second touchdown pass of the first half. The 15-yard TD pass to Knotts was his only catch of the night.

After a scoreless third quarter, Monroe had its longest play of the game to start the final quarter, with Robinson completing his third touchdown pass, a 51 yard completion to senior Jaikhob Covington, who made a spin move on a defender and raced to the endzone untouched to extend the lead 31-0.

Covington caught five passes for 89 yards on Friday.

Melton completed the scoring with his second touchdown run from 11 yards out four minutes later.

Jordan Young hauled in an interception for the RedHawks with 4:49 left in the game, but the Yellow Jackets got its first points with a safety on the next play. They scored their only touchdown when Crowder threw a four-yarder to Christyan Washington.

Even though the result was not what he wanted, Yellow Jackets head coach Jammie Deese is optimistic that his team will perform well in the postseason.

“Our guys fought to the end,” Deese said. “We didn’t deserve it based on the sloppiness of our play and being out of character with some of our things assignment-wise. When you play a team (like Monroe) that was a 3AA state semifinalist last year, they’re going to be a disciplined, experienced team ….”

Both teams qualified for the 2A playoffs. Monroe will host Lincolnton on Friday, and Forest Hills is at Providence Grove.

Monroe 38, Forest Hills 9Forest Hills%5E0%5E0%5E0%5E9 — 9

Monroe%5E14%5E10%5E0%5E14 — 38

Scoring SummaryM — Nate Crosby 8 Pass from Khamoni Robinson (kick blocked)

M — Zach Melton 6 Run (Shaleak Knotts from Robinson)

M — Angel Valenzuela 24 Field Goal

M — Knotts 15 Pass from Robinson (Valenzuela kick)

M — Jaikhob Covington 51 Pass from Robinson (Valenzuela kick)

M — Melton 11 Run (Valenzuela kick)

FH — Christyan Washington 4 Pass from Gabe Crowder (Gael Moreno kick)

Team StatisticsFH%5EMonroe

7%5EFirst Downs%5E15

31-157%5ERushes-yards%5E32-131

4-12-1%5EPasses-att-int%5E11-21-0

28%5EPassing yards%5E176

14-120%5EPenalties-yards%5E8-85

1-1%5EFumbles-lost%5E0-0

Individual StatisticsRushing: FH — Gabe Crowder 22-108, Ross Smith 4-36, Christian Davis 5-13; M — Melton 11-71, Crosby 9-71, Robinson 9-10, Elliot Reid 1-9

Passing: FH — Crowder 4-12-1 28; Robinson 11-21-0 176

Receiving: FH — Ahmir Stafford 1-24, Smith 1-3, Washington 1-(-3); M — Covington 5-89, Reid 4-66, Knotts 1-15, Crosby 1-6