Monroe's playoff run ended on Friday night with a 10-9 loss on the road to East Surry.
It was a game dominated by defense from both sides, which kept the score low and magnified a few flaws in execution.
The Redhawks' defense got off to a good start keeping East Surry off the scoreboard after the Cardinals took their first two offensive possessions into the red zone.
The game looked even better for Monroe late in the first quarter when sophomore quarterback Khamoni Robinson hit junior Bryce Davis for a 45-yard TD connection. On display was Davis' speed and strength, flicking to the side one last Cardinal tackler on his way into the endzone. But, unfortunately for Monroe, the extra point was not successful.
East Surry fought back late in the first half scoring a touchdown that sent the Cardinals into halftime with a 7-6 lead.
Monroe regained the lead, 9-7, late in the third quarter with a 36-yard field goal.
Both defenses continued to shine, but East Surry was able to get back on top with what would be the ultimate game-winning line-drive field goal with 5:46 left to play in the fourth quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Monroe's senior Shaleak Knotts cut through the Cardinals and bolted down the right sideline, but credit the East Surry kicker (Stephen Brantley) to fight off a Redhawk block and was in a perfect position to prevent Knotts from reaching the end zone. It was the play of the game as far as I was concerned.
The Redhawks were sitting inside the Cardinals' 20-yard line with plenty of time on the clock but struggled for positive yardage and just missed a pass in the endzone to an open receiver. Unfortunately for Monroe, the go-ahead field attempt fell short, and East Surry ran out the clock to win the game.
Despite the season-ending loss, Monroe had a strong year finishing their season at 8-2. What made it more impressive was the Redhawks made a deep run into the playoffs after playing only one game in seven weeks during the season due to Covid-19.