Jefferson-Morgan’s Jonathan Wolfe eats up Monessen

Friday, September 25, 2020 | 11:47 PM

The big, bad Wolfe came into Friday’s Tri-County South Conference game fixing for a feast. Unfortunately for Monessen’s defense, they had no answer for Jefferson-Morgan’s senior running back Jonathan Wolfe.

Wolfe led the charge for the Rockets, racking 172 yards on the ground, as they picked up their first win of the season with a 22-14 triumph over Monessen at Waynesburg University’s John F. Wiley Stadium.

“He’s a good back, and we had problems stopping him,” Monessen coach Shane Swope said. “We knew what J-M was going to do on offense, but hats off to them. They executed their gameplan.”

J-M’s Parker Field was still under construction, so the game was moved to Wiley earlier in the week. J-M will host Bentworth next Friday at Wiley Stadium as well.

“We challenged our offensive line this week and they responded tonight,” J-M coach Aaron Giorgi said. “We were all about the want-to tonight. We had to maintain our blocks and concentrate on each play as an offensive unit. We answered the call the whole night, and I loved our effort.”

Wolfe carried 31 times for the Rockets (1-2, 1-2). Coming into the game, Monessen had a nine-game winning streak against J-M, and the last time the Rockets won in the series was in 2006.

After the Greyhounds (0-3, 0-3) were forced to punt on their opening drive, the Rockets set the tone early on. Wolfe capped off a 13-play drive, all runs, with a 4-yard touchdown and then added the 2-point run to give J-M an 8-0 lead at the 3:32 mark of the first quarter.

The Rockets doubled their lead on their next possession, as Wolfe ended another scoring drive with a 9-yard touchdown plus the 2-point run in the early stages of the second quarter.

“Our running game carried us,” Giorgi said. “I thought we did a good job of mixing up the carries and keeping them guessing on defense. Wolfe is our workhorse, and he answered the bell for us. He got his shoulders squared and just kept on falling forward.”

Monessen was outgained 156-54 in the first half and trailed 16-0 at halftime.

The Greyhounds defense turned the game around in early stages of the third quarter, as the Rockets had a high snap go over the quarterback’s head and Jermere Majors alertly scooped the ball up and turned it into a 7-yard touchdown.

Shane Swope added a 2-point run and Monessen was down 16-8 with 10:18 left in the third.

“Tonight, we showed a lot more resolve than the previous two games,” Coach Swope said. “We knew we were one big play away from making this a game. At halftime, we told the kids to continue what they were doing and play hard. We got the touchdown on defense and that changed things for us.”

Both teams traded empty possession the next couple of drives until the Rockets made it 22-8 after a 1-yard keeper by Colt Fowler with 2:22 left in regulation.

Monessen tallied the final score of the night, as Swope busted a 20-yard run to paydirt, but a failed extra point and then a failed onside kick ended any hopes of a comeback from the Greyhounds.

Fowler rushed for 54 yards for the Rockets and added two interceptions on defense, while Dalton Heath rumbled for 52 yards.

“The offense did the job, but I got to mention our defense,” Giorgi said. “We read our keys and rallied to the ball. We didn’t want to give them anything easy, and we had to eliminate the big play. We had to win the line of scrimmage and I thought we tackled very well in space.”

The Greyhounds managed only 113 yards on offense as Swope ended his night with 47 yards on 5-of-14 passing with two interceptions. Kody Kuhns was the leading receiver with three grabs for 35 yards.

Monessen hosts Mapletown on Friday.

“We stayed disciplined tonight and didn’t take any dumb penalties,” Coach Swope said. “I’m not a big fan of moral victories, but tonight we took a step in the right direction and we are hoping to build off of it. We start about nine underclassmen on offense. We have to be more consistent and clean things up.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game at Trib HSSN.

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