MONROE CITY, Mo. -- There was no slow start for Palmyra this time around.
After a touchdown on its opening drive of Friday's Class 2 District 6 semifinal against Monroe City, Palmyra immediately got the ball back on a perfectly executed onside kick by Zane Meyers.
Three plays later, Palmyra quarterback Corder Lehenbauer broke loose for a 30-yard touchdown run. Before Monroe City touched the field on offense, it was down 14-0.
"We knew the game plan was to go for that onside, so when we got that first touchdown I just thought, ĎMan, we gotta get that ball back,'" Lehenbauer said. "Then when we got that ball back and scored. That was a big momentum shift right there. It was great."
Palmyra carried the momentum with it for all four quarters on its way to a 44-22 victory over its long-time rival. Palmyra (8-3) moves on to face Clark County (10-1) in the district finals after the Indians walked all over Macon 52-14 in Friday's other semifinal.
Lehenbauer was huge throughout the night for Palmyra. He finished 10 for 17 with 151 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he added 104 yards and two scores on the ground.
"I thought Corder did a great job of just managing the game and making a lot of really good decisions on the field," Palmyra coach Kevin Miles said. "He put us in the position to be?successful, then our offensive line and (running back Dakota Compton) did a great job of executing those decisions he was making."
Despite hitting Cooper Hinkle for a 15-yard score on the first drive, Abe Haerr for a 25-yard touchdown for the third score in the first quarter and Kaden Malone for a 16-yard touchdown right before halftime, Lehenbauer struggled throwing the ball in the cold November air. Luckily, he had his legs to rely on.
"I didn't feel like I threw very well today," Lehenbauer said. "So I knew I had to pick it up with the wheels a little bit, but I gotta give it to our offensive line for playing well today."
The offensive line allowed Palmyra to rack up 243 rushing yards, with Compton pitching in 148 yards and a score on 29 carries.
On the other side, Palmyra completely shut down a potent Monroe City attack. Previously against Palmyra, Monroe City (7-4) ran for 258 yards to win the regular-season finale. Two weeks later, Palmyra held Monroe City to 141 rushing yards, including just 23 in the second half.?"Everybody came ready to play," defensive lineman Weston King said. "Coach told us we had to put our head in a dark place in order to get this win, and we all did that. We all bought in and did our one-11th and it worked."
For Monroe City coach David Kirby, it was a simple explanation why his team's season came to an end.
"They capitalized on some plays and hats off to them, they played a much more physical contest tonight," Kirby said. "I said earlier whoever played more physical was going to have an opportunity to be the winner, and they were just able to put us in some spots that they could dictate the style of play and we couldn't get them off the field."
Keenan Batsell finished his Monroe City career with 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, and sophomore quarterback Kyle Hays went 6 of 10 for 162 yards and a score.
Execution on all three phases -- offense, defense and special teams -- has Palmyra rolling to a district final playing some of its best football of the season.
"When we are all on the same page, we are a really dangerous football team," King said.
The revenge tour continues for Palmyra with a date against Clark County next Friday. The Indians won the last matchup 38-24 on October 11.
"Clark is a good team, but we have been wanting them since we lost to them the first time," Lehenbauer said. "Just like Monroe City this week, it's a redemption game and we want them."
Palmyra 44, Monroe City 22
22 First downs 13
39-243 Rushes-yards 37-141
151 Passing yards 162
394 Total yards 303
10-17-0 Comp-Att-Int 6-10-0
1-0 Fumbles-lost 0-0
5-35 Penalties-yards 2-10
Palmyra 20 8 8 8 -- 44
Monroe City 8 6 8 0 -- 22
PAL -- Cooper Hinkle 15 pass from Corder Lehenbauer (run failed), 8:12
PAL -- Lehenbauer 30 run (Abe Haerr pass from Lehenbauer), 6:46
MC -- Antwuan Battle 8 run (Keenan Batsell run), 3:30
PAL -- Haerr 25 pass from Lehenbauer (pass failed). :29
MC -- Batsell 1 run (run failed), 1:50
PAL -- Kaden Malone 16 pass from Lehenbauer (Dakota Compton run), :20
PAL -- Lehenbauer 10 run (Weston King fumble recovery), 1:57
MC -- Dalton McAfee 64 pass from Kyle Hays (Batsell run), :46
PAL -- Compton 1 run (Haerr pass from Lehenbauer), 4:15.
Rushing -- Palmyra, Compton 29-148, Lehenbauer 9-104, Hinkle 1-(minus-1); Monroe City, Batsell 23-119, Battle 7-31, Aaron Plumb 3-13, Hays 4-(minus-22).
Passing -- Palmyra, Lehenbauer 10-17-151-0; Monroe City, Hays 6-10-162-0.
Receiving -- Palmyra, Haerr 3-60, Hinkle 2-47, Peyton Timbrook 3-20, Malone 1-16, Compton 1-8; Monroe City, McAfee 2-81, Plumb 2-50, Logan Buhlig 1-20, Battle 1-12.