The Peterson Principal
By Tim Peterson
December 14, 2012 • 272 views
By Tim Peterson
If you handed somebody that had no knowledge of the outcome a stat sheet from the Monrovia-Madsion game Saturday night, they would have figured it for a blowout. “How bad did Monrovia beat them? 35-7?” they would have inquired.
“I don’t believe what I just saw” Joe Buck announced after Kirk Gibson’s dramatic home run gave the Dodgers a World Series Game One victory over Oakland in 1988. I kind of felt the same way Saturday night. Although not nearly as dramatic, I saw the game but still had a hard time believing Monrovia lost. Yeah they lost.
No it wasn’t 35-7 or 42-7. It was actually 21-17 Madison. I couldn’t believe it, the Monrovia players and coaches couldn’t believe it and I doubt many of the nearly 3500 fans in attendance could believe it.
Monrovia was in Madison territory on eight of its ten possessions and never punted the ball. Madison was in Monrovia territory twice and punted four times. Monrovia had 182 yards and a touchdown passing. Madison had 63 including just 14 in the second half.
The Wildcats rushed for 292 yards including 131 by Darione Jones. The Warhawks rushed for 60…yes 60! you thought their first half passing yards were low? In the second half Madison had four yards on the ground. Pierre Courmier, who rushed for over 1900 yards on the season, had a mere 32 yards and one in the second half.
“We totally shut him down,” said Monrovia Coach Ryan Maddox.
Monrovia quarterback Blake Heyworth was sacked a couple of times but if you take away those lost yards Monrovia outgained Madison 475 yards to 123.
In the second half, Madison went three and out four times. Even when the Warhawks got the ball back with just over two minutes remaining they still couldn’t tun out the clock and were forced to punt after three plays that lost yardage.
This was a trainwreck numbers wise. 21-17 Madison? Don’t you mean 27-0 Monrovia? So how did the Wildcats lose with those kind of stats?
“We really beat ourselves tonight,” Maddox said. “We had opportunities to win.”
That’s an understatment. On its first touchdown Madison needed to travel only 26 yards to cash in after a Jones fumble. Madison’s second touchdown came on a pick six in Monrovia territory. Jamie Gomez intercepted Heyworth and rumbled in 25 yards for the score.
Meanwhile Monrovia was leaving points on the table. A bad snap led to a missed Mason Bryant field goal in the first half and Gomez intercepted Heyworth in the endzone to halt a drive in the third quarter.
Even with those miscues, Monrovia was still in control when Anthony Craft scored on a 16 yard strike from Heyworth with 5:44 left in the fourth quarter.
All the bad stuff was already out of the way. The Monrovia defense just needed to do what it had been doing all night and do it just one more time- stop Madison. Heck the Wildcats had done that three consecutive times in the second half. They never got the chance.
Lee Walker took the ensuing kick off at the two yard line, got a couple blocks early and was off to the races. As the Monrovia kick off coverage tried to chase Walker down as he raced down the field, you could almost see the chances of victory running away with it.
“We knew #10 (Walker) was dangerous and we kicked it right to him,” Maddox said.
The Cats had not one but two more shots to take the lead, but both series ended with interceptions and the Monrovia dream of playing at the Home Depot Center died.
The Wildcats have won three straight Mid-Valley Division titles. Nobody can take that away. They have become the premier program in the San Gabriel Valley and played in their first ever State Bowl game. But when the opportunity to win slips from your grasp, that doesn’t go away either.
“It is bittersweet,” Maddox said.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at Tim@midvalleysports.com