(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CARUTHERSVILLE -- Even with the momentum of an eight-game winning streak coming in to Monday's Class 2, District 1 championship game, the Charleston Bluejays couldn't deny Caruthersville its ninth title in the past 10 years.
Unable to slow down the Tiger's big-play offense, the Bluejays surrendered 437 total yards as Caruthersville brushed off the rain and the cold to win 49-22.
"They were on a mission to get that ninth district championship," Charleston head coach Brett Blackman said of the Tigers. "I was proud of the way our kids kept their composure and didn't go out and let them roll on us in the second half. They battled back and got some points on the board."
All game long Caruthersville showed how explosive their offense could be as they continued to pile up yards on big plays. It was on the Tigers' first play from scrimmage that the Bluejays found this out the hard way.
After forcing Charleston into a three-and-out on its opening possession, Caruthersville took over at their own 34-yard line. Going back to pass, Tiger's quarterback Tyler Grissom rolled right and found a wide-open left side of the field.
Abandoning the pass, Grissom tucked the ball in and sprinted 66 yards for the go-ahead score with 9:41 to play in the first quarter.
"I think it fooled everybody," Caruthersville head coach Nathan Morgan said of Grissom on the play. "So he did a great job and you can't be mad about that. Sometimes you cringe when your quarterback takes off, but that's what he does."
Grissom added another touchdown on a one-yard quarterback keeper late in the quarter and, following the two-point conversion, the Tigers moved ahead 14-0.
Despite their early problems, the Bluejays were able to keep within striking distance most of the first half thanks to a 77-yard run by Bogan that set up a late first quarter score.
Bogan's run put Charleston a yard from the end zone and Deiontrail Winston punched through on the next play with 34 seconds left in the frame to make it 14-8, following the two-point conversion.
By the end of the second quarter, however, an 18-yard touchdown pass from Grissom to Myron Woods and a four-yard score from Darrell Monroe had the Tiger's holding a 20-point halftime lead.
Twice in the third quarter Monroe found the end zone, scoring on a 60-yard run before putting his team up 42-8 on a 16-yard run.
By the end of the night, Monroe racked up three touchdowns and 175 yards on 17 carries for a 10.3 yards-per-carry average.
After one final Caruthersville score early in the fourth, the Bluejays were able to throw a few late touchdowns on the board to round out the final.
Both scores came at the hands of Bogan, who found the end zone on a 47-yard run and returned a fumble on defense 38 yards to make up the final.
Despite another stellar performance from Bogan in which he finished with 159 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, the Bluejays were hurt by the absence of their second-leading rusher Rontavious Clark.
Without Clark, the Tigers' defense was able to hone in on Bogan and limit his damage after he put up 243 yards against Malden in the semifinals.
"He gives us different things," Blackman said of Clark. "They were playing Monroe and a couple of their better defensive players to Robert's side. So that kind of took away that and then we had some mess ups in the spread that we knew we would have to run tonight."
With the loss, Charleston finished the season at 9-3 on the year after finishing with only five wins the year prior. Though they'll lose seniors such as quarterback Mike Hull and lineman Cole Byford to graduation, they'll bring back much of the ground attack, including Bogan and Clark.
"We had more kids on the conference team and I think we'll have more some kids on the region team," Blackman said of this year's squad. "I'm very proud of the work of my coach and the kids. Just overall I really couldn't be happier with them.
"I wish we were still together another week, but sometimes things have to end and people have to move on. We're start working on 2013 and go forward."
CA -- Tyler Grissom 64 run (kick missed), 9:41
CA -- Tyler Grissom 1 run (Darrell Monroe run good), 1:12
CH -- Deiontrail Winston 1 run (Sumner Foster pass from Mike Hull good), 0:34
CA -- Myron Woods 18 pass from Tyler Grissom (Tyler Grissom run good), 9:48
CA -- Darrell Monroe 4 run (kick missed), 8:37
CA -- Darrell Monroe 60 run (Tyler Grissom run good), 11:15
CA -- Darrell Monroe 16 run (run failed), 8:16
CA -- Tyler Grissom 6 run (kick good), 10:18
CH -- Robert Bogan 47 run (Deiontrail Winston run good), 8:04
CH -- Robert Bogan 38 fumble return (run failed), 7:13
Rushing -- Charleston, Robert Bogan 15-159, Delfinko Bogan 7-9, Deiontrail Winston 5-27, Mike Hull 7-(-1), Mike Kellum 4-26. Caruthersville, Tyler Grissom 7-79, Darrell Monroe 17-175, Myron Woods 1-6, Jamal Johnson 4-80, Hunter Dickey 1-11, Rodrick Jones 4-0, Mathew Hopkins 3-1, Peyton Faulkner 2-(-2).
Passing -- Charleston, Mike Hull 1-7-2 10. Caruthersville, Tyler Grissom 5-11-1, 87.
Receiving -- Charleston, Sumner Foster 1-10. Caruthersville, Steven Rodgers 1-13, Antonio Mackins 1-16, Darrell Monroe 1-10, Myron Woods 1-18, Hunter Dickey 1-30.