Monroe cruises past Taylor 49-18

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By David Chewning

Taylor County opened the 2008 gridiron season on a sour note Friday, as Monroe County handed the Cardinals a 49-18 setback.

The visiting Falcons posted 501 yards offense, controlled the line of scrimmage and forced turnovers at opportune times.

Cardinal mentor Rodney Turpin complimented the senior dominated squad, saying, "Monroe County controlled up front on both sides of the ball."

The first quarter proved to be close as each team struggled to sustain drives. Lance Turpin hit Leonard Macon for a 20-yard strike late in the quarter. After a botched snap and errant pass, Taylor led 6-0, but it would be their only lead in the contest.

Monroe County controlled the second quarter, taking advantage of excellent field position to cash in twice in the quarter.

Neil Wilson's 19-yard punt return gave his team a first down at the Cardinal 31-yard line. Justin Harlan would finish the short drive, going in from four yards out.

The Cardinals pulled out all stops and converted a long fourth down on a fake punt. Leonard Macon ran 39 yards to gain the first down.

McKale High stopped the Cardinals' drive with an interception and once again secured excellent field position. Sheldon Hamilton scored the first of three touchdowns on the night, and his team took a 15-6 lead to the half.

Monroe County exploded for 34 points in the third period to put the game out of reach, scoring on four of five drives. Tanner Kendall would also return an interception for a score during the period.

Hamilton, Kendall and Neil Wilson all found the end zone.

The lone Cardinal highlight came late in the period as Lance Turpin connected with Michael Coulter for a 35-yard strike.

The Cardinals closed out the game late in the fourth period as Turpin again found Coulter, this time for a 50-yard score.

Chris Thomas led the Cardinal rushing attack gaining 122 yards on 18 carries.

Taylor County travels to cross-town opponent Campbellsville on Friday night as the rivalry resumes at 7:30 EST.