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MONMOUTH — The St. Bede football team knew it needed to stop Monmouth-Roseville running back Martel Hunter in Saturday’s Class 3A first-round playoff game.
Knowing and doing, however, are two different things.
The speedy Titan running back raced past the Bruins as the junior ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as Monmouth-Roseville ended St. Bede’s season with a 40-27 victory.
“You see (his speed) on tape, but you don’t know how good he really is,” SBA coach John Bellino said. “He’s an exceptional back. He’s hard to get a hold of and hard to bring down. Their offensive line does a nice job for him, but he picks and weaves his way through.”
Hunter ran for a 62-yard touchdown on the Titans’ first offensive play and broke free for a key 38-yard run to start the second half that sent Monmouth-Roseville (8-2) on its way.
“It was the Hunter Show, and we just couldn’t stop him,” Bellino said.
The junior added two third-quarter touchdowns that put the game out of reach. His 234 yards rushing were just two yards shy of St. Bede’s 236 combined yards on the ground.
“He is just a really good player for us,” said M-R coach Jeremy Adolphson, whose team will travel to top-ranked Sterling Newman this weekend. “He just makes plays, and he is one of those guys if you give him a crease he is going to take it.” The ending was quite the reversal from the start for the Bruins.
After receiving possession at its 31-yard line to start the game, St. Bede (7-3) slowly and methodically drove the field, but fullback Austin Schwab fumbled at M-R’s 32-yard line.
Titan linebacker Tanner Woods recovered the fumble to set up Hunter, who broke to the right side on M-R’s first play, weaved through Bruin defenders and then out-sprinted the defense for the 62-yard TD on the Titans’ first play.
St. Bede played catch up the rest of the game.
“To get the long one early is something we’ve been able to do this season because I think you get ready for him and know he’s fast and good, but until he’s right there it’s a little different,” Adolphson said. “But that was really nice, and it’s gets the confidence going.”
The Bruins responded with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that was capped when SBA running back Bobby Morrow scored on a 2-yard run. However, the PAT kick was blocked as M-R maintained a 7-6 lead.
The Titans increased their advantage when running back Skyler Goodwin caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dillion Frieden to give M-R a 13-6 lead with 7:37 left in the second quarter.
After M-R received the kickoff to start the second half, the Bruins needed a defensive stop and had it on first down when St. Bede had Hunter stopped for a 3-yard loss.
However, Hunter escaped and broke free for a 38-yard run.
After the momentum-changing play, Hunter scored eight plays later on a 2-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to give the Titans a 21-6 lead.
Morrow countered with a 6-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 21-12, but a 33-yard Hunter touchdown run gave M-R a 27-12 cushion.
SBA responded again as Schwab scored on a 2-yard run just 53 seconds into the fourth quarter to pull the Bruins to 27-19, but back-to-back M-R touchdowns gave the Titans a 40-19 lead.
Morrow finished with 142 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Bruins quarterback Taggart Venegas threw for 94 yards and a touchdown to receiver Brad Groleau in the final minute, but the junior QB also threw two interceptions.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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