NOKOMIS — Ryan Donohue has had big games in his four-year varsity career before. His performance Saturday will rank as one of his best yet.
Donohue racked up 274 yards and four touchdowns — all on a bum leg — as fifth-seeded Monticello rode its powerful tailback to a 45-26 win against fourth-seeded Nokomis in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Like many players at this point in the season, Donohue admitted he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. But the senior captain labored and limped his way to the Sages’ third playoff win in his four years.
“The win definitely takes the pain away,” he said.
Monticello (8-2) jumped to a 21-7 halftime lead behind two Donohue touchdown bursts and quarterback Parker Trice’s 19-yard run.
Donohue had 142 of the Sages’ 221 total yards in the first half while Monticello’s defense limited Nokomis (8-2) to 73 yards. The Redskins entered the playoffs with the highest-scoring offense (52.1 ppg) in Class 3A but couldn’t move the ball consistently against Monticello’s stout front seven.
Nokomis quarterback Luke Hamlin completed 1 of 8 passes in the first half.
“They’re a running team, but if you can get them to throw, their one weakness on offense is pass protection,” Monticello coach Cully Welter said. “He barely had any time to throw. Certainly, we wanted to get them in those situations.”
The Redskins, however, closed to within one touchdown.
“I knew the game wasn’t over. I thought if we punched one more in there, we were in good shape,” Welter said. “We had our opportunities and then we decided to start handing them the ball back.”
Monticello’s lead was 31-26 when Donohue slowly jogged onto the field. His 62-yard touchdown run past three Nokomis defenders sealed the win.
“Typical Monticello, didn’t come out in the second half,” Donohue said. “Then all of the sudden, we kind of turned it on there at the end.
We have to come out all four quarters next time.
“Things got bad, but we tried to stay positive through it, and then we broke that big one.”
Donohue is looking forward to a matchup against undefeated Williamsville (10-0) in the second round.
“There’s no stopping now,” Donohue said.