Caldwell, Severance help Ross run over Monroe

Duo combines for 372 yards rushing, 6 TDs in 41-14 win

MONROE — Riley Caldwell remembered how things went down last year. The Ross High School senior running back didn’t plan on letting it happen again.

“We had a bad taste in our mouth,” Caldwell said of Monroe’s last-minute touchdown that beat Ross 13-9 last season. “It was a close game. We just knew what we could do as a team if we’d just put it together.”

Caldwell and Emory Severance combined for 372 yards rushing and six touchdowns, and the Rams ran away with a 41-14 Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division victory over the Hornets on Friday night at Monroe Hornet Stadium.

“Our first half was definitely better than the second half, so we will have to clean some things up,” Caldwell said. “But I think we played really well tonight in the first half especially.”

The Rams (3-6, 2-1 SWBL Southwestern) and the Hornets (2-7, 0-3) are both vying for playoff contention. Ross entered Friday’s contest as the 19th seed in Division II, Region 8, while Monroe was sitting at 16th in Division III, Region 12.

The Rams are in their first season in the SWBL and have a chance to grab a piece of the Southwestern Division title. They’ll face division leader Bellbrook (6-3, 3-0) next Friday.

Ross used that as a means of motivation and stormed out to a 28-0 first-half lead on two TD runs apiece by Caldwell and Severance.

“I think we played really well up front on both sides of the ball,” Rams coach Kenyon Commins said. “Riley is obviously a really special player for us, and I thought Emory had a real good night, too. But all of those things are compliments to what happens upfront.”

Monroe got on the board when quarterback Karson Marcum scampered 60 yards for a score on the opening drive of the second half to cut Ross’ lead to 28-7. The Rams outscored the Hornets 13-7 the remainder of the game.

“I think it was the tale of two halves,” Monroe coach Bob Mullins said. “I think we didn’t play really well in the first half. We couldn’t maintain drives. They did a good job on defense, and we couldn’t get off the field on defense.

“They did a good job of being the more physical team the first half,” Mullins added. “But I thought our kids played a good second half. This is a game of four quarters, and we only played two tonight. You have to tip your cap to them. They played a great game, and they deserved to win. They executed better than we did.”

The Hornets finished with 252 total yards of offense — 213 rushing and 39 passing. Sam Houston led Monroe with 73 yards rushing, while Marcum finished with 67.

Ross had 402 yards of total offense, with 401 of those coming on the ground.

Caldwell had a career-high 203 yards rushing, while Severance broke an 80-yard run for a score to finish with 169 rushing yards on the night.

“I know that this isn’t the best season we’ve had, but we’re still out here having fun,” Caldwell said. “That’s the main point of this in high school football — just have fun with our teammates.

“Winning out is our goal because we can still share the SWBL title,” Caldwell added. “That’s what we’re going to try and do.”

Ross has won five out of the last six meetings against Monroe since 2018. The Hornets wrap up the regular season at Edgewood next Friday.

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