Turnovers plague West Salem in state championship loss to Monroe
In its first appearance at the state championship since 2007, the West Salem High School football team turned the ball over on its first two possessions, fell behind early and never recovered.
Monroe capitalized on four first-half turnovers altogether, getting out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead thanks to one of them, and capped off an unbeaten season with a 35-14 win in the Division 3 state title matchup at Camp Randall.
Both teams opened the state title matchup fumbling on their first possessions, but it was where these turnovers happened that made the difference.
Monroe’s turnover happened on the 1 yard line, going in for a score. The Panthers (12-2) recovered, but two plays later, threw an interception from the 2, setting up the short field and 10-yard touchdown run for the Cheesemakers on their first play.
After a West Salem punt, Monroe (13-0) scored again on its third possession, capping off a 9-play, 71-yard drive with a short TD run.
In the second quarter, West Salem got on the board. Luke Noel scored on an 8-yard TD run, set up by a 56-yard reception by Brennan Kennedy from Brett McConkey.
Monroe, however, matched that score before half, going into the break up 21-7 and added three more touchdowns before the Panthers got on the board again with 5:08 left in the game.
The Cheesemakers ended the regular season ranked fourth in the Medium Division, while West Salem was seventh.
Monroe outgained the Panthers 383 yards to 190 and had 23 first downs to West Salem’s eight.