This first round playoff match-up between the Hunter Huss Huskies and the Monroe Red Hawks would come down to two things. Who would make more big plays and who would make fewer mistakes? Early on, it would be a mistake that would cost the Huskies. A bad snap by the Huskies gave Monroe the ball deep in Huss territory on the first drive. The Red Hawks made them pay with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Bennett to Shaleak Knotts (PAT good).
The Huskies would answer that score with a touchdown pass of their own. Quarterback Zo Wallace connected with Dontavius Nash for a 35-yard touchdown pass (PAT good). Malik Corry would give the Huskies their first lead of the game with a 13-yard touchdown run (PAT good).
A critical mistake would keep the Huskies from pulling away early. Zo Wallace was intercepted by Salen Streater at the Red Hawks 40 yard line and he took it 60 yards for a touchdown to tie it up (PAT good). But the Red Hawks could not stop the Huskie offense and Malik Corry. On the next drive, Corry put the Huskies back on top with a 65-yard touchdown run (PAT good). The score would remain 21-14 at the half.
The Red Hawks got the ball to start the second half but were unable to capitalize off the opportunity. The Huskies would start to pull away in the third quarter with a nine-yard run by Quentayvious Murray (PAT good). Monroe would answer right back with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Bennett to Jordan Black (PAT good).
The fourth quarter would be a scoreless stalemate. But it would not lack some big plays. Zo Wallace would be intercepted again. This time it would be Shaleak Knotts with the pick. He returned it deep into Huskie territory. But a penalty after the interception would back the Red Hawks up back into their own territory. A 38-yard pass from Bennett to Knotts would take Monroe inside the Hunter Huss 20-yard line. But they could not punch it in as Bennett was intercepted by Jacob Brackett in the end zone on fourth down. The Huskies were able to run out the clock from there. The Huskies win 28-21.
Malik Corry led Hunter Huss’s offense with 158 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Bennett led Monroe with 193 yards passing and two touchdowns.
“It was a tough loss. We had a chance to tie it up but they played good defense there at the end.” said Monroe head coach Johnny Sowell “We got down and fought back and had a chance to tie it up. In the playoffs, those are the games you’re going to get. You’re going to win some that way and you’re going to lose some that way. No disrespect to them. They played a great game and made plays at the right time.”
“Hats off to Monroe and Coach Sowell. They have a great ball club. So this is a quality win tonight. Any win in the playoffs is quality so I’m proud of our guys with the way they held on.” said Hunter Huss head coach Jamar McKoy “We had some miscues but we bent a little but didn’t break and came away with the victory. That’s a hallmark of Hunter Huss and the west side of Gastonia. We fight through adversity all the time. There are ups and there are downs. We try not to go deep in the valleys and we try not to get to high on the mountain top. We try to stay in the middle and continue to fight and that’s what the guys do.”
Hunter Huss will host Charlotte Catholic next week. The Cougars advance with a 39-14 blowout win over Forestview. The Huskies will look to avenge last year’s 28-7 loss to the Cougars.