Every sport is a game of inches. Saturday night at Hugh Mills Stadium that often-used phrase meant victory for Monroe and a painful overtime loss for Fitzgerald.
Inches and the Tornado defense saved the day for Monroe in 35-28 overtime victory against Fitzgerald. The Tornadoes stopped Purple Hurricane quarterback Romarius Gaulden inches short on an overtime fourth down play stalling Fitzgerald's comeback hopes.
Monroe and quarterback Charles Stafford jumped out of the gate quickly with a 14-0 lead in the second. The Tornadoes led 28-14 to start the fourth quarter, but Gaulden and the rest of the Fitzgerald running back crew couldn't be denied in the final stanza.
The Purple Hurricanes scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to knot the game at 28. In overtime, Fitzgerald won the toss and elected to open on defense. A 15 yard run by Devontay Stephens set up the Tornadoes winning touchdown.
"We challenged our offense during the week we knew we had to score some points because they have a great offensive team over there. Offense did an extremely good job," Coach Charles Truitt said. "Guys didn't quit. I think we developed some character. If we didn't have any character, I saw some character stepped out tonight."