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Monroe was a dominant program in the 80's and 90's, winning five state titles with three runner-up finishes from 1986 to 1996. However, the Cheesemakers had not been back to Camp Randall since a runner-up finish in 1996.
That all changed on Friday in Madison, as Monroe's dominating running game helped the Cheesemakers secure a 35-14 win over West Salem for the WIAA Division 3 state football title.
Monroe ran for 341 yards, including 170 from Tucker Markham and 122 by bruising fullback Alex Hernandez, and imposed its will on the Panthers throughout the game.
The beginning of the contest was a sloppy one for both sides, as West Salem fumbled on the second play of the game, only to see Monroe fumble on the one-yard line a short time later.
Monroe picked off a Brett McConkey pass two plays later, and on the next play Keatin Sweeney went in for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Cheesmakers on top. They scored on their next drive as well, a more traditional nine-play, 71-yard march that took 4:33 off the clock and was punched in from three yards out by Tucker Markham.
West Salem finally got something going in the second quarter when McConkey hit Brennan Kennedy for a long pass, with a facemask tacked on at the end. Luke Noel paid it off on the ensuing play with an 8-yard touchdown on the option pitch.
However, that would essentially serve as the high-water mark for West Salem, as Monroe would go up 21-7 late in the second quarter on another long scoring drive.
Monroe's ball-control offense dominated the second half, when the Cheesemakers added to their lead with long touchdown drives and West Salem got the ball just twice after halftime.
Monroe out-gained West Salem 383-190, including 341-64 on the ground. The Cheesemakers had 23 first downs to just eight from West Salem and held a 33:51-14:09 advantage in time of possession.
Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.
For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.