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Explosive Edgewood strikes early, often in win
Times photo: Adam Krebs Monroe quarterback Michael Barrett is brought down from behind by Madison Edgewoods Thomas Murphy during the first half of Fridays game.
MIDDLETON - The Monroe football team took a step back Friday, losing 42-7 to Madison Edgewood at Middleton High School.

The Cheesemakers opened the game on an ugly note, allowing Crusaders senior back Mike Eshun to go 93 yards for a score on the opening kickoff.

"We had the ball kicked into the corner right where we wanted it, had him pinned, and then Eshun made a great play," Monroe head coach Curt Miller said. "He's one of the top explosive backs in the conference.

"It just happened like that. Edgewood is an explosive team and they will make big plays on you."

Soon after, Monroe punted the ball away on its first possession. On Edgewood's third offensive play, Bennett Young took a pitch around the left side for 69 yards before getting tackled inside the Monroe 5-yard line. Three plays later, Eshun had his second of five touchdowns.

Monroe still couldn't move its offense, but managed to stop Edgewood on fourth down with 51 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Then, on Monroe's first offensive play, Eshun jumped in front of a Cheesemaker receiver, picking off a pass from quarterback Michael Barrett and returning it for a touchdown.

"We still gave up the big plays. We can't have that happen," Miller said. "If we want to go toe-to-toe with somebody, we can't do those things."

Edgewood made the score 28-0 with 10:02 remaining in the opening half. After Monroe punted deep in its own territory, the Crusaders had the ball at midfield. On the third play of the drive, Eshun ran 39 yards for the score.

"Edgewood runs the option well. Unfortunately, it's hard to duplicate that kind of speed in practice," Miller said. "The game just moved too fast for some of our kids. By the time they saw what their responsibilities were, the play was already by them."

The Cheesemakers finally gained some momentum midway though the quarter, recovering a fumble and driving down the field. Monroe's only score came on a one-handed grab by Bryan Tordoff in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the 11.

Edgewood scored again just before halftime, putting Monroe down 35-7 at the break. Four minutes into the third, Eshun ran in the game's final score from 14 yards out on fourth down, allowing for a running clock to close out the game.

Monroe (1-4, 1-2 Badger South) totaled 224 offensive yards, including 204 on the ground. Running back Dylan Schwitz ran for 136 yards on just 16 carries.

"I was happy to see what they (Schwitz and Barrett, 35 rushing yards) were able to do," Miller said. "Edgewood's defensive scheme is a tough one - they've shut people down this year. But those two are really good players. But we needed to do more."

For Edgewood, Eshun had 89 yards on 12 carries. The Crusaders had 259 rushing yards and 329 total yards of offense.

"We didn't expect this outcome, we didn't want this outcome, but we have to get on task now. That task is to win our homecoming football game against Milton on Friday," Miller said.

Milton is one of the top teams in conference every season.

"Last year we got absolutely throttled by them. Hopefully that leaves a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth and we can get a little bit of revenge," Miller said. "I still think we can be a very good football team. We haven't showed it often, which is unfortunate, but we have a lot of weapons. If things come together for us, I think we can play with them."