MONROE — All the talk leading into the season about Monroe Area's football program being a probable contender in Region 8-AAA looks to have been right on the money.
Despite a 20-game losing streak leading into the 2010 season, the Hurricanes (4-0, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA) dropped down to Class AAA and now look primed to contend for a spot in the region title game in the final week of the regular season.
On Friday, Monroe Area put together two first-quarter touchdown drives on the ground, both of which started at the Chestatee 44, along with a great defensive effort stuffing the War Eagles' running attack en route to a 27-0 win at the Purple Pit at Hurricanes Stadium in Monroe.
Chestatee (2-2, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA) finished the game with 100 rushing yards and 147 yards of total offense.
"The entire defense for Monroe (Area) was swarming to the ball the entire game," Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said. "We just couldn't get anything going consistently.
"Monroe Area and Gainesville are certainly the top two of that side of the region."
Led by senior quarterback Demontavious Smith, the Purple Hurricanes ran largely out of a triple option-based offense early and scored on a touchdown run of 2 yards by Smith and a 13-yard run by Tre'Shard Burdette in the first quarter.
After forcing Chestatee into a three-and-out on the first drive that included two sacks on War Eagles' quarterback Scott Chewning, Smith converted on a fourth-and-4 with a 5-yard run and a 13-yard sneak up the middle later in the drive on a third-and-8.
With 4:49 remaining in the first quarter, Burdette scored on a run from the 13 on a pitch from Smith, who rushed for 95 yards on 14 carries.
On Monroe Area's second drive, Smith had consecutive runs for 36 and 12 yards, and he scored on a run from the 2 on the fifth play of the drive to give the Purple Hurricanes a 13-0 lead. Monroe Area finished with 270 rushing yards, including a game-high 101 yards from Burdette and 76 yards from sophomore Monterian Smith.
This was Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg's first time facing his former Chestatee program, which he coached for the first four seasons the school was open.
"It was tough because I pull for those guys (Chestatee) every week," Fligg said. "I know that coach Luttrell is the man for that program and he's doing a wonderful job."
Meanwhile, the Purple Hurricanes' defense, which only allowed a combined 16 points in the first three games, was solid up front all night led by defensive ends Stephon Tuitt, a Notre Dame verbal commit, Kendarious Whitehead and nose tackle Travis Butts. In the first half, Monroe Area had four sacks on Chewning, who had the game's longest run of 68 yards.
"We have great chemistry on this defense," said the 6-foot-5, 260 pound Tuitt. "I'm not trying to be bold, but we feel like we have a great team."
In the third quarter, the War Eagles drove 31 yards on the ground and into Monroe Area territory when Whitehead, a junior, hit Chewning for a 14-yard loss. Purple Hurricanes defensive back C.J. Byrd intercepted the pass three plays later at the Monroe Area 48.
Burdette finished the game with 75 yards for Monroe Area, including a touchdown run of 14 yards in the fourth quarter. The Purple Hurricanes' third quarter touchdown was a 9-yard run from junior Floyd McCoy on a fumble recovery.
Next week, Chestatee plays host to North Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday; Monroe Area plays host to Oconee County at the Purple Pit.