News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Eagles Edge Colts in Round One, 31-24

---Photo by Jorge Lopez

The Eagles beat the Colts, who knocked them out of the 2011 playoffs.

By Josh Ouellette, Writer

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By Josh Ouellette

South El Monte, CA – South El Monte came out with all guns blazing and had just enough left in the tank to stave off Covina 31-24 Friday night and move on in the CIF Southern Section Playoffs.

SEM got the scoreboard working early finding the promise land on their opening drive with a ten yard pass from Levi Wells to Eric Garcia. A 51-yard pass from Wells to Javier Machuca set up the score.

Things didn’t bode well for the Colts from the start, on their first offensive play Emilio Zertuche’s first pass of the night was picked off by Pablo Ocegueda setting up the Eagles at midfield. Following a South El Monte three and out and one more Covina play, Zertuche was intercepted again. This time it was Alex Acosta who ended another C-Town drive sooner than planned.

The ensuing Eagle drive saw Garcia burst off for a 43-yard scamper up the middle on a well-executed draw play and ended with a 37-yard field goal by Agustin Pinto. With just only four minutes of play ticked off the clock SEM found itself with a 10-0 lead.

Wells didn’t waste anytime marching the Eagles down field. Two passes from Wells to Machuca resulted in another quick South El Monte score, the first went for 25-yards over the middle, only for the next play to be top the previous one with a 30-yard short connection and scamper to the right resulting in the touchdown.

Covina found momentum, and some luck, late in the first and early in the second quarter. The 5:38 long drive ended with a 35-yard pass from Zertuche to Evan Stretton, who did a good job to reign in the pass after it was almost intercepted by the Eagle defensive back. Darren Torres nailed the point after as the teams entered the break.

The Colts were unable to get the ball rolling on their first drive of the second half and were forced to punt. SEM didn’t take long to grow the lead again with Leo Artiaga bursting up the middle and then to the outside for a 55-yard touchdown run, Pinto’s extra point was no good making the score 23-7.

Covina wouldn’t go away galloping downfield thanks to Frankie Ramirez’s hard running to set up a 35-yard field goal by Torres. The score now was 23-10.

The C-Town defense forced another South El Monte punt, but this time it backfired. Michael Peters fielded the kick and began to weave his way through the Eagles return team to find the hole and burst through straight into the endzone for the 50-yard score. Momentum was in the direction of the Colts and the lead was cut down to six.

SEM’s Mario Burciaga and Machuca had a different idea. Burciaga had moved over to the quarterback position late in the first half after Wells came out of the came with an injury, and he didn’t skip a beat. He found Machuca on a post pattern over the middle and he took it the rest of the way for the 62-yard trip to paydirt. The Eagles had extended the lead yet again, 31-17.

Covina left no stoned unturned though. On the following kickoff Shazeb Mallick returned the kickoff 77-yards, and two plays later found the endzone for the first time on a 2-yard dive across the goal line. 31-24.

Covina had two chances at scoring late in the game, their closest opportunity coming on a fourth and goal from the five, only to have South El Monte to deny them.

For Covina it is the end of the season, going out with a (7-4) record in a tough Valle Vista league.

For South El Monte at (7-4) they continue on into the second round of the playoffs and will go on the road to face Rio Hondo League champs Monrovia (9-2) who beat Viewpoint (5-6) 50-0 on Friday night.

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
Eagles Edge Colts in Round One, 31-24