Monrovia Season Ends in State
Monrovia, CA – Monrovia turned the ball over four times and and it proved to be costly in a 21-17 loss to Madison (San Diego) Saturday night in the Division III State semi finals.
The Wildcats took a 17-14 lead with 5:44 left in the game on a 16 yard touchdown pass from Blake Heyworth to Anthony Craft but Madison struck on the ensuing kick off when Lee Walker brought back the kick off 98 yards for a touchdown. Madison then stopped Monrovia on two more possessions over the final five minutes to seal the victory.
“They’re a very good football team but I think we beat ourselves tonight. We had the opportunities to win,” said Monrovia Coach Ryan Maddox. “We had special teams break down, a missed field goal, a kick off return for a touchdown. You can’t make those kind of mistakes and win. We had a lot of untimely mistakes this year but we’ve been able to overcome them. Tonight we almost did but when you play a good football team you have to play your best.”
14 Madison points came directly off of Monrovia turnovers. A Darione Jones fumble late in the first quarter at the Wildcat 26 led to a three yard touchdown run by Madison’s Jamie Gomez six plays later to tie the game at seven.
Monrovia scored on its first drive of the game marching 80 yards on nine plays with Ge Vontray Ainsworth trucking up the middle from seven yards out to finish it.
Monrovia’s Mason Bryant hit the crossbar on a 26 yard field goal attempt on the Wildcats’ next series. A bad snap led to a bad hold and ultimately the miss.
A 52 yard attempt by Bryant at the end of the half was short and the teams went into the break tied at seven.
Monrovia’s troubles began in earnest early in the third quarter. On the third play of the first series Gomez stepped in front of a Heyworth pass, cut back across the field and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Madison lead.
Monrovia responded by mounting a drive but they were again halted in Madison territory and had to settle for a 29 yard Bryant field goal.
After forcing Madison to punt, Monrovia drove down to the Madison nine yard line but Heyworth was intercepted by Gomez again – this time in the back of the end zone.
The score stayed 14-10 until Craft’s touchdown in the fourth quarter gave the Cats the short lived three point advantage. Runs of 15 and 33 yards by Jones set up the Heyworth to Craft connection.
Then Walker did his thing on the 98 yard sprint for Madison in what proved to be the game winner.
“Five minutes to go, you can’t have that. We knew #10 (Walker) was dangerous and we kicked the ball right to him,” Maddox said.
The Warhawks never established anything offensively in the second half punting the ball three times giving Monrovia opportunities. But the Wildcats next two possessions ended on interceptions by Gomez and Michael Garner.
Monrovia’s defense allowed Madison only one touchdown and that was on a short field. Warhawks running back Pierre Cormier, who rushed for over 1900 yards on the year, was held to just 32 yards on 11 carries.
“Our defense did a great job. We shut him down,” Maddox said.
Bryant had a huge game for Monrovia catching nine passes for 81 yards and rushing for 19 yards on three carries. Craft had four receptions for 73 yards and a touchddown. Heyworth threw for 182 yards but was hurt by the three picks. Jones (131 yards) and Ainsworth combined for 195 yards on the ground. Not counting special teams Monrovia outgained Madison 408 yards to 123 only to come up short on the scoreboard.
Despite the bitter loss Maddox was happy with the Wildcats season.
“When it’s all said and done and we have time to reflect I’m extremely proud of our boys and the way they played this year – winning the CIF championship and then having the oportunity to play this game and even opportunity to win this game,” Maddox said.