By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
FULLERTON — Speed, speed and more speed.
It’s what best describes Monrovia’s football team this season.
While there are some wrinkles to iron out, the second-ranked Wildcats made a statement in their 27-13 victory over Arcadia in the season opener Thursday night at Fullerton High.
The highlight reels by junior quarterback Nick Bueno and senior DuJawn Jones would have had a much bigger audience if not for the poor air quality from the week-long fires forcing this marquee matchup to change venues.
Monrovia (1-0) coach Ryan Maddox said the offense would change a bit this season after Bueno getting a better grip of the offense, but not many expected to see quite the show.
Bueno ran circles around the Apaches (0-1) defense, rushing for 148 yards on 11 carries. He went back-to-back on 30-yard rushes, the second attempt padding Monrovia’s lead 12-7 in the second quarter.
It was clear from Bueno’s first run early in the game he was going to be putting on a show. He took off for a 16-yard play on the Wildcats’ third play of the game. Bueno sped down the sidelines, but instead of running out of bounds he took a hard helmet-to-helmet tackle, much to the dismay of the Monrovia coaching staff.
Dujawn Jones, not to be outdone, intercepted Garrett Tuck’s pass with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
Jones caught the pass in the end zone. He hesitated at first, not knowing he could return the ball.
Jones sped past defenders on the sideline before breaking down the middle and outmaneuvering the last defender to waltz into the end zone on a 102-yard return.
Despite trailing the whole game, Arcadia did show plenty of promise.
Sophomore Taylor Legace is a star in the making as is junior David Maldonado, who by the end of the game was worn out. If the Apaches can find someone to compliment Maldonado I can see Arcadia making some serious noise this season. Maybe when Rodney Arnett returns from an injury we’ll see how good the Apaches really will be.
Senior quarterback Garrett Tuck completed 18 of 36 passes for 203 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He connected with David Schuil on a 3-yard pass with 5:51 in the second quarter to
pull within lead 7-6. Tuck also connected on a 37-yard pass with Brian Lam to pull within 27-13 late in the fourth quarter.
Monrovia used a combination of running backs to exploit holes, especially down the middle where Craig Brown, Danny Caldera and Derrick Johnson found plenty.
The scary part?
Monrovia’s best and fastest running back, sophomore De’Shawn Ramirez, did not play because of two missed practices.
There were some questions answered when it came to the Wildcats’ young defense. Sophomore defensive end Ellis McCarthy had two sacks and batted down a pass.
The Wildcats were penalized four times and couldn’t convert three PAT’s, though Christian Blanco did manage to catch a bad snap to run it in for the 2-point conversion.
“It’s a Week 0 game and neither team had a lot of practices (because of the fires),” Maddox said. “We had a lot of positives, but there were some wrinkles, not being able to condition really affected us and cost us some mental mistakes, but overall it was a good game to start the season.”
…. I don’t see it happening, but stranger things have happened. I hear some of you might be at The Hat in Brea. Ah, the Hat. Spent many a nights there after Friday night football games, as well as the BJ’s and Cheesecake Factory across the street at the Brea mall. For those attending tonight’s game be sure to take some seat cushions. Fullerton’s home stadium is cemented, I believe. It used to be chilly this time a year, but I’m not sure with this crazy weather we’re having. Still, take a blanket anyway. If nothing else you’ll have something to sit on. Last I remember, Fullerton’s field is not in the best conditions. There’s hardly any grass on the field and plenty of dirt. We’ll see how the boys hold up. Monrovia wins, 31-14.