DAWSON -- For the first 10 minutes of the 2010 season, it looked like Monroe High and Terrell County might have the shootout of the year.
The two scored five touchdowns prior to the three minute mark in the first quarter before the GHSA Class AAA Tornadoes' numbers wore down Class A Terrell County in a 32-12 Monroe win to open the season.
Tornadoes' junior quarterback Devine Noel looked like the early front runner for the high school Heisman in the first half, throwing for more than 150 yards and three touchdowns. His jets cooled in the second half, but it was more than enough to hold off the Greenwave.
"We got points to put up," senior receiver
Detravious Lane said of the fast first-half start. "Got to start the game right."
Noel finished with 176 yards on 8-of-20 attempts, throwing for four scores and running for another. He hit Lane on a 32-yard deep ball on the first play from scrimmage and Monroe was off to the races after Noel ran in from four yards out for the first touchdown.
Terrell County answered back in less than 40 seconds when junior fullback Basheer Rogers busted a 32-yard touchdown run up the gut. A missed extra point left the score at 7-6.
Noel connected with Johntavius Strum on a 52-yard scoring strike and Terevious Hudson on a 6-yard throw on consecutive drives to build a 20-6 lead.
Greenwaves' quarterback Jerkerious Scott fired back with a 34-yard touchdown to Dekoven Ware to cut into the lead, but Noel found Dominique Reed on a 21-yard throw and catch score to build a 26-12 lead two minutes before halftime.
"The second half, defense played to our capabilities," Tornadoes' head coach Charles Truitt said. "First half, they hit us in the mouth pretty good."
Excluding its scoring drives of 46 and 75 yards in the first half, Terrell County fell into negative offensive yardage thanks in large part to three botched punt snaps that totaled a loss of 63 yards. Monroe couldn't convert those mistakes into points, though, partly due to Noel's interception problem.
He was picked off three times, once by Jacoby Calloway and twice by Tray Stephens, who intercepted nine passes as a junior and is well on his way to reaching the school record of 11 picks in a season.
"We've got to be more consistent," Terrell County head coach William Huff said. "They made some adjustments that gave us problems up front with the blocking and (Monroe's roster) numbers kind of got us. We gave up too many big plays."
Noel put the game away with 4:43 left in the fourth quarter, finding Hudson for the second time Friday on a 13-yard touchdown throw and the only score for either team in the second half.
Strum led all receivers with 74 yards on two catches. Lane had three catches for 62 yards.
Reid was held to just 44 yards rushing on 19 carries by the Greenwave defense, which allowed less than 100 yards rushing (33 by Noel), but was burnt by long pass plays.
Calloway ran for 60 yards on six carries, while Rogers finished with 54 yards on eight carries for Terrell County. Scott connected with Ware on all four of his completions for 59 yards. In his first season-opening start at quarterback, Scott finished 4-for-21 and was intercepted by Monroe's Antonio Baker on one of many pressured throws on the night.
"He got hit pretty hard and got up," Huff said of Scott, who'll need to come up big next week in a key region showdown against Seminole County. "He needed it, we needed it. We're going to get better for it."