Monroe surprised everyone with an onside kick to start the game, but the recovery led to one of three four-play drives for the Hornets. When Monroe got the ball again, it trailed 14-0.
Following a 9-yard touchdown run by Nick Etienne, Roop covered the ensuing kickoff for the Eagles at the Monroe 38. It was one of two kickoff recoveries for Roop, who also had an interception in the end zone and caught a crucial fourth down pass to keep Bellbrook’s first drive alive.
“We actually talked about that before the game,” Bellbrook head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “We wanted to sky it to the right spot because we’ve got some speed guys on the edge. We figured if we could get a couple recoveries we could keep the ball out of their hands. They’re a very potent offense.”
Said Roop: “We practice our sky kicks a lot. The first one was all our kicker (Conner Peh). He put the first one in a perfect spot and the second one I got there fast enough to get it.”
Seth Borondy ran for two touchdowns and threw another to Ethan Jenkins for the Eagles, who also got touchdown runs from Ashton Ault and Carson Labensky.
Monroe scored on a 30-yard second quarter field goal from Grant Martinez and a 39-yard fourth quarter touchdown run from Elijah Jackson.
With a win next week over visiting Valley View, Bellbrook will claim a share of the East Division title. Monroe can do the same with a win at undefeated Eaton. It would be the Hornets first league title since winning the SWBL Buckeye Division in 2009 with Carlisle and Waynesville.
The Hornets, who went 4-5 last year, have secured their third winning season in 11 years and first since 2015. Just one senior ranks among the team’s top 11 tacklers and the top two rushers (Jackson and Ryan Miles) are underclassmen.
“It was just not a good night for Monroe football, but we’ll regroup. We’re a good team and we will be ready for Eaton next week,” Mullins said. “Our team is young and in order to win games like this, you have to play in games like this. That is a very experienced group over there. They know how to play in games like this. Our kids are learning. We’ll get there.”