EVANSVILLE — Monroe’s potent rushing attack is a versatile blend of inside power and traps, option pitches and sweeps around the edge.
Throw in a timely pass completion and the Cheesemakers’ offense puts great stress on an opposing defense.
On Thursday night, it was senior running back Tyler Matley’s turn to shine in Monroe football team’s version of the Delaware Wing-T offense.
And the 6-foot, 182-pound Matley, often sweeping the left end, said he’d never before had an offensive performance like he experienced in the Cheesemakers’ 40-24 victory over Evansville in a Rock Valley Large Conference game at Ron Grovesteen Field.
Matley rushed for a career-best 206 yards on 16 carries, scored a career-high four rushing touchdowns and scored on four 2-point conversion runs for Monroe (2-0 overall, 2-0 Rock Valley Large), ranked seventh among medium-sized schools in the wissports.net coaches’ poll.
“(Left halfback Keatin Sweeney, a sophomore) down-blocking and our guards pulling and getting outside quick really opened it up for me,” Matley said.
Matley, who also plays defensive back and has committed to Loras College in Iowa for football, scored three second-quarter touchdowns in helping Monroe erase an early 8-0 deficit during the game in the WIAA’s alternate fall season in the spring.
“It’s a three-headed monster,” Monroe coach Toby Golembiewski said about the offense. “Trevor (Rodebaugh) had a great game last week. And if you line up to stop that, then you have these other guys to look for — Keatin and Matley — and we can throw out of that stuff, also.
“You don’t see it that much. Everyone is in shotgun, throwing it all over the place. I didn’t invent this. It is a great system that has been working for years and it fits our program perfectly.”
Evansville (1-1, 1-1), 10th-ranked among medium-sized schools, rallied from a 24-8 deficit. The Blue Devils tied the game at 24 on senior quarterback Tyr Severson’s 1-yard run and his 2-point conversion pass completion to junior Kane Howlett with 10 minutes, 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
But Matley’s 10-yard touchdown run — sweeping the left side — with 8:52 left and his subsequent 2-point conversion run put the Cheesemakers ahead for good 32-24.
The scoring play followed a pivotal pass completion from senior quarterback Max Golembiewski to 6-foot-6 junior receiver J.T. Seagreaves on a fourth-and-5 from the Evansville 45-yard line. The left-handed Golembiewski, Matley’s friend since third grade who’s also a Loras commit, fired deep to Seagreaves for a 35-yard gain to the Blue Devils’ 10.
“(Seagreaves) is a great athlete,” Evansville coach Garth Coats said. “We had the right coverage. He got over the top on us and made a nice play on the ball.”
Severson, who threw for 180 yards, rushed for three touchdowns for Evansville, including a 7-yard run that opened the scoring with 7 seconds left in the first quarter.
“He’s the engine to our offense,” Coats said about Severson. “He made some nice plays both on his feet and in the air.”
But the Cheesemakers adjusted their play-calling and Matley took over in the second quarter after Evansville bottled up the Cheesemakers’ inside running game led by Rodebaugh.
Matley scored on runs of 39, 78 and 14 yards, and had 156 yards rushing at halftime. On the 78-yard run, he raced around left end and down the sideline, then cut back right across the field, giving Monroe a 16-8 lead with 8:57 remaining in the second quarter.
“It felt like 100 (yards),” Matley said. “I was gassed on the next play and then going to play defense.”
Matley said he was more of a blocking back last year, but “tonight it was my turn to go.”
Sweeney’s 30-yard touchdown run with 4:55 to play secured the victory.
Monroe opened the season with a 22-6 victory over McFarland last week, led by Rodebaugh’s 173 yards rushing on 24 carries and two touchdowns.
Evansville defeated Whitewater 43-6 behind Severson’s three touchdown passes and one touchdown run and Mason Young’s two rushing touchdowns.