ALBANY -- Monroe coach Charles Truitt and his team finally have something to cheer about. After watching his Tornadoes drop five straight games, the last three by a combined 12 points total, Monroe took out its frustration on cross-town rival Dougherty on Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium.
Junior quarterback Devine Noel threw for 187 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, and Brandon Gordon ran for two more as Monroe roared to a 28-0 first-half advantage and made it stick in a 34-14 homecoming win against the Trojans.
Monroe improved to 4-5 and 1-4 in Region 1-AAA play as Dougherty suffered its sixth straight loss and closed a disappointing season at 2-8 and 0-6 in region play.
"I'm really proud for our kids because we've lost some close games here lately," Truitt said. "I'm especially happy for our seniors -- I know this is satisfying for them."
The game was a sloppy affair, with the teams combining for nine turnovers -- three by Monroe and six by Dougherty. A blocked punt by Monroe set up the Tornadoes' first possession at the Dougherty two, where Detravious Lane crashed into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 8:35 remaining in the first quarter.
And the rout was on.
"They gave us some opportunities and put us in position for a couple of scores and we finally cashed them in," Truitt said. "We haven't been taking advantage of those types of breaks, but we did (Friday)."
Dougherty coach Jessie Hicks, visibly upset in the visitor's dressing room afterwards, repeated a date.
"Nov. 8. Nov. 8," Hicks said. "That's when we'll start our new season. We will look forward to getting into the weight room and begin work to get this program back to where it once was. And we'll get back there. I can promise you that."
Following the Monroe score, Dougherty quarterback Michael Payne was picked off by sophomore Ernest Davis, putting the Tornadoes in business at the Trojans 41. Six plays later, Gordon scored from six yards out to push the lead to 14-0 with 3:14 to go in the opening quarter.
Dougherty turned the ball over on downs at midfield on its next possession at the Monroe 45 and it took the nine plays to find the end zone with Noel hitting Terevious Hudson with an 18-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0.
The Trojans turned the ball over again on their next possession at the Trojans' 45. Noel then hit passes of 20 and 15 yards before finding Dominique Reid with a 13-yard strike and a 28-0 advantage.
Dougherty finally got on the board minutes later when Payne and Sharoski Griffin connected on a 45-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-7 at the half.
Monroe pushed its lead to 34-7, cashing in yet another Dougherty fumble, when Gordon scored on a 12-yard jaunt.
Dougherty closed out the scoring with 11:30 remaining in the game as backup quarterback Justin Nelson connected with Griffin on a 47-yard touchdown pass.
Monroe will wrap up its season next Saturday against Westover.
"We're looking forward to that game," Truitt said. "We've got some momentum and this gives us a chance to finish strong against a cross-town rival."