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Finishing with a victory
Monroe senior Dylan Schwitz rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the final game of his high school career Wednesday. Schwitz also threw a touchdown pass to fellow senior Bryan Tordoff, which happened to be the deciding score in Monroes 20-13 victory over Portage.
MONROE - After three months of staving off adversity, the Monroe football team found its stride. A week after the Cheesemakers picked up their first win of the season at Stoughton, they picked up just their second back-to-back win in six years - knocking off Portage Wednesday, 20-13.

"I told the kids this wouldn't have been right to win this one without a little adversity," Monroe head coach Curt Miller said. "We gave ourselves some (adversity) with a couple of turnovers. We made things tough on ourselves for a little bit, but our kids did what they did all year long - they pulled together and found a way to get it done."

Senior running back Dylan Schwitz, knowing it was his last game, played like it was his last game - running for 133 yards and two touchdowns and throwing for another.

"I love the fact that our last touchdown - the one to win the ball game and put us up for good - was a pas from a senior to a senior," Miller said. "Everyone of those seniors has given everything they've got to this program. To deal with everything we have all season long and to end it with a victory is special."

Schwitz' 15-yard pass to senior Bryan Tordoff in the third quarter put Monroe up 20-6.

"I'm going to think about the line who made it possible to rush for two touchdowns and throw for one," said Schwitz when asked about how he will remember his last football game. "I'm going to think about everyone else and I'll probably cry when I think about it. But it felt great to get that last win. I don't know if it will quite hit me until tomorrow when I don't put the pads on for practice."

Monroe (2-7) gained 302 yards on the ground on 57 carries, much of which was thanks to the offensive line. Junior running back Jon Becker had 173 rushing yards on 26 carries

"We all played hard and brought it as a team," said senior Nick Walker, a two-way starting lineman. "It's an awesome feeling and an awful feeling knowing that I'm never going to play with these guys again."

Schwitz capped Monroe's first possession - a 9-play, 63-yard drive - with a 1-yard touchdown run. Portage (1-8) answered right back, tying the game at 6-6.

Late in the second quarter, Portage opened up a possession on its own 12-yard-line thanks to a booming punt by Nigel Tourdot. On the Warriors' first play, Jon Nolan fumbled and Monroe sophomore Trent Wyssbrod recovered at the 11. On the next play, Schwitz bullied his way up the middle and dove into the end zone.

Players like Wyssbrod and Collin Lehman found ways to enter the lineup thanks to several injuries. In the waning weeks of the season, seniors Cam Wahl and Drew Nafzger were lost due to injuries. Every senior suited up for Wednesday's game, however, including quarterback Michael Barrett, who hasn't played a snap all season.

"We had a kid like Collin Lehman who gets to play middle linebacker last week get hurt and Trent Wyssbrod finds a starting spot and did just an awesome job," Miller said. "Lots of kids got involved and it was definitely a team effort today."

After the Cheesemakers stopped Portage on fourth down with two minutes left, Nafzger and Barrett found their way on the field - in pads - for the game's final snaps. Nafzger took the ceremonial knee to run out the clock.

"It meant a lot to me. Over the last three games I haven't been able to play, but I wanted to go out and play the last game of my senior year," Nafzger said. "(Getting the win) meant a lot. For the juniors and seniors to get two wins under their belt is going to give them a lot of momentum."

"You can see what football has meant to these kids. We had three kids who had no intentions of playing other than those last three snaps that, without telling me, dressed in their pads. We did some last minute calling of parents to make sure that's OK," Miller said. "Cam Wahl has a cast on but he put his pads on because this is special to him - football has been special for him and he wanted to take his pads off one last time. Same with Michael Barrett and Drew Nafzger. To get those kids out there and play those last few plays is very special."

Miller added that the chance for those kids to be on the field only could have happened because Monroe was out of the playoff picture and this game would surely be the squad's last.

"You make the most out of your situation. That's kind of been our theme all year. Whatever we've been dealt with, we've made the most out of it," Miller said. "Our kids came together. It was a special win."