El Monte Goes Vertical On Bell Gardens

Photo by Duane Barker

El Monte quarterback Brandon Martinez."

By Duane Barker, Writer & Photographer

By Duane Barker

El Monte, CA — The El Monte air show was on full display Friday night as the Lions came back from a nine point deficit in the last 2:38 of the game and beat the visiting Bell Gardens Lancer 46-41 in El Monte’s final non-league tune-up.

In the Lions first win in history over Bell Gardens, Brandon Martinez set fire to the stat sheets hitting on 27 of 42 passes for 544-yards and five touchdowns.

El Monte (3-2) got the scoring party started with 6:32 left in the opening frame when Martinez found Adolfo Sanchez for 30-yard strike. As usual the Lions went for two and Martinez took it in from 2-yards away.

Bell Gardens (3-2) came right back on the legs of Jorge Remigio covering 65-yards on six plays with Remigio gaining all 65. The Lancers went for two and got it on a toss from Charles Ontiveros to Gerardo Coronel.

Lost in the comeback win for El Monte was the stellar night by Lancer Remigio. The Bell Gardens running back carried the ball 38 times for 247-yards and three touchdowns.

A miscue on special teams led directly to the Lancers next score. Angel Salazar back in punt formation mishandled the snap. In scramble for the ball both teams had a chance and as the ball squirted into the endzone, Bell Garden’s Oscar Lopez fell on the ball. Carlos Chavez added the extra point and the Lancers had the lead 15-7.

The battle ensued through the rest of the first half as the Lions scored on an eight play 95-yard drive capped by a 20-yard pass from Martinez to Abel Barrajas and the Lancers responded with a 29-yard drive set up by Coronel’s 52-yard kick off return.

As time was winding down in the first half El Monte drew to within a point when Martinez hooked up with Sanchez on a 31-yard dagger. Sanchez caught seven balls on the night gaining 195-yards and got into the endzone three times. The Lions couldn’t convert on the two point conversion and the score remained 21-20 Bell Gardens as the teams headed into halftime.

Bell Gardens got the ball to open the second half and after a short kickoff was fielded and returned by Corornel, the Lancers were in good field position at their own 47. Two plays later the Lancers coughed up the football on a bad exchange between Ontiveros and Remigio. El Monte covered the ball and were in business at mid-field.

The Lions showed their quick strike ability needing only three plays to cover the 50-yards and with just a few minutes gone in the second half, El Monte had it’s first lead of the game. Martinez connected for the second time on the evening with Barrajas.

Bell Gardens came right back on their ensuing drive going 53-yards in seven plays to regain the lead 27-26 on a 31-yard run by Remigio.

The Lions scored again to close out the third period and take a 32-27 lead on 27-yard pass from Martinez to Sanchez.

The lead was short lived as the Lancers ground up yards and the clock to start the final frame using 14-plays to go 53-yards capped by Remigio’s third score. Remigio also ran in the two point conversion to give Bell Gardens a 35-32 advantage.

The Lancers increased their lead to nine with 2:28 left in regulation when they completed a 61-yard drive that was aided by a broken play that allowed Ontiveros to gain 36-yards to keep the drive alive. Ontiveros called his own number after Remigio carried the Lancers to the El Monte one.

Lightning struck on the ensuing kickoff when Angel Gonzalez fielded the ball at his own two, followed his blockers an broke free on a 98-yard bolt to paydirt. The Lions completed the two point conversion to trail by only one.

The wheels fell off the wagon for Bell Gardens on their next drive from scrimmage. Staring from their own 20, back to back penalties backed the Lancers up even further into their own side of the field. On the second play, the exchanged was fumbled again and the Lion’s Luis Diaz covered the ball at the Bell Gardens seven. One play later and it was jubilation for the Lion faithful as Bryan Luevano scored on a seven yard run.

The Lions failed on the two point conversion again but more importantly had a 46-41 lead with 1:34 left to play.

Things went from bad to worse on the ensuing kickoff. Luevano’s pooch kick was failed to be covered by the Lancers and El Monte fell on the ball at the Bell Garden’s 35. With time on their side the Lions only needed to run out the clock and come away with the emotional victory.

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