STANARDSVILLE — The William Monroe football team fell 24-2 to Turner Ashby in its season opener Friday night, but head coach Jon Rocha said he’s not discouraged.
“It was not what we thought it was going to be tonight, and we’ll work on it next week and going forward,” Rocha said. “I’m very hopeful. At the end of the day, you want to win every single game. You want to go undefeated, but that’s impossible right now, so now we want to go 9-1 and that’s what we’re going to look at.”
Turner Ashby reached the end zone late in the first quarter after C.J. Haskins ran in the first of the Knights' three touchdowns. Wyatt Campbell’s two-point conversion was good, putting the Knights up 8-0 with less than 10 seconds on the first-quarter clock. A 43-yard field goal with just four minutes remaining in the second quarter gave Turner Ashby an 11-0 lead going into the half.
Two William Monroe interceptions in the second quarter allowed the Knights' offense to stay on the field and chip away at the Greene Dragons' defense, which saw the field for 22 of the first 24 minutes of the game.
“If an offensive coordinator can see your defense for 22 minutes, he’s going to find the chink in your armor, and that’s what they did," Rocha said. "If your offense doesn’t perform, it’s just your defense out there. You’re going to wear them out. Our offense has to score points, and they have to keep our defense off the field. And if that doesn’t happen, you get the result tonight.”
Four minutes into the second half, Turner Ashby scored its second touchdown of the night. Monroe’s Kaiden Pritchett blocked Wyatt Campbell's extra-point attempt to keep the score at 17-0 in favor of the Knights.
With just under four minutes left, Turner Ashby’s Grant Swinehart ran in the Knights' third and final touchdown of the night after hauling in a pass from Haskins. Following the extra point, the Knights led Monroe, 24-0.
A catch from junior Logan Barbour early in the fourth quarter put the Dragons at the 2-yard line. Monroe (0-1) couldn’t capitalize, however, turning the ball over on the next play. A fumble from the Knights on their ensuing drive resulted in a safety and two points for the Dragons.
As William Monroe looks to bounce back from the loss, Rocha said the Dragons are focused on the district games ahead. Monroe finished 3-7 last season and third in the Northwestern District.
“In reality we have until we play Brentsville, that’s our first district game. You can win those five and you can win the district. If you win your district, the rest takes care of itself,” he said. “We have four more games and a bye week to make sure when we hit the field against Brentsville, we’re going to be playing at the optimum level.”
William Monroe travels to Spotswood next Friday for a 7 p.m. matchup. The Dragons' next home game is slated for Sept. 13 against Clarke County at 7 p.m.