Football: Maddox wins battle before winning the war

The call came with about nine minutes to go in the first quarter.

Monrovia High School was facing third and 18 from its own 20, and second-year Wildcats coach Ryan Maddox opted to punt to Paraclete in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division playoffs last week on a cold and windy night at Knight High in Palmdale.

“We’re going to punt?

Why are we punting?”

That was the immediate reaction from some on the Monrovia sidelines, but Maddox was on to something.

“We knew going into that game (Paraclete) was going to have one of the better defenses all year,” Maddox explained. “We talked about it before the game that two very good defenses clashing together would make for a game of field position and a low-scoring battle.

“They had us back up in our end zone and it’s not a very high-percentage down. They’ve got us pinned. When we punted that meant they ended up with the ball on their own 20 instead of starting on our field. It was a huge changing of field possession.”

Paraclete’s first possession was at its 24, and the Spirits got to the Monrovia 40 before a false start backed them up five yards. Without advancing on their next two plays, Spirits coach Norm Dahlia called a timeout with 4:48 left in the first quarter. On the next play, Monrovia’s Charlie Cimmarusti intercepted the ball.

In the long scheme of things, Maddox needed to win his first battle before winning the war, and that meant shifting field possession in the Wildcats’ favor.

Monrovia (12-0) went on to win 14-3 and earned a second consecutive semifinal appearance. They host Whittier Christian (9-3) on Saturday night.

  • BigCat

    The people who thought it was a bad decision to quick kick on 3rd down really don’t have much football IQ. In a game where its going to come down to less than 20 points combined you have to play the field position game. Its good to see Monrovia with a staff that will make the right call in a big game! GO CATS!

  • bballinca

    Why couldn’t he have done the same thing on 4th down?

  • Observantcat

    bbalinca: Well , lets see, on 3rd down their is no one back to receive the punt meaning there will be perhaps no punt return and the ball just keeps rolling down field until it stops leaving the defense room to stop your play in your side of field.

  • Anonymous

    On 4th down the Defense has some one back to return the punt and gain yardage, if you do it on 3rd down the defense is in their normal alignment and you can get extra yardage. They were deep, inside the 20 and got the ball all the way to the Paraclete 24 (a 60 yard change in field position)

  • BigCat

    On 4th down the Defense has some one back to return the punt and gain yardage, if you do it on 3rd down the defense is in their normal alignment and you can get extra yardage. They were deep, inside the 20 and got the ball all the way to the Paraclete 24 (a 60 yard change in field position)

  • Elias Buckwalter

    Good call Maddox. Good win for the Cats. It looks like it will be a rematch of Monrovia- San Dimas in the Mid-Valley Finals.

  • Reno Hightower

    Before you get danders up in a humph and call this the greatest football decision of all time, the quick kick has been around for a long time. The Spread, which is the Single Wing in a sense, has always employed the quick kick. General Neyland often employed the quick kick at Tennessee (the seven mantras of winng football, look it up). Pin the other team deep, play defense, and wait for the other team’s mistake. Pasadena would give Chris McAlister a run/pass/kick option on 4th down, Arroyo would do it from FG formation, and TC did it with Desmond Reed in an empty set, he even kicked left footed. Heck, Ol’ Reno drop kicked from 48 yards out vs. Bakersfield and recovered the free ball at the eight yardline in 1974. (We didn’t score-son of a b…)

  • BigCat

    Reno,

    I agree not the best call of all time, just a smart one thats all.

    GO CATS!

  • tcchamps

    Reno:

    You hang with Merle Haggard up there? You have such a simple voice, yet full of life’s lessons, facts and knowledge. What’s the old verse, “There’s more to Grey Hair than Old Bones.

  • Reno Hightower

    Reno got a wit bit confused regarding General Neyland’s Seven Maxims, not mantras, for winning football. (Maddox may have it, he has been around, the young dudes [PHS, TC, Los Altos, etc.] have NO clue). BTW, Neyland is a Hall of Fame Coach. The Seven Maxims are;

    1). The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.
    2). Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way-SCORE!
    3). If at first the game or breaks go against you-put on more steam.
    4). Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
    5). Ball, Cover, Block, Pursue and Gang Tackle-This is the winnig edge.
    6). Press the kicking game. This where the breaks are made.
    7). Carry the fight to the opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes (48 in high school).

  • Goldenarm

    Neyland lived in a less political day of football, otherwise he would have included # 8.

    8. Hire an AD and Administration who fully support the football program – and understand the importance of 1-7

  • Anonymous

    From Miguel’s story:
    “The call came with about nine minutes to go in the first quarter.

    Monrovia High School was facing third and 18 from its own 20″

    From Maddox’s comments within Miguel’s story, there is no doubt Maddox deciding to punt here was no decision that suddenly flew into his head. It was one he likely had rolled through his head many times. The quick kick really has no down side if executed correctly. Paraclete would be smelling blood with the M-town kicker in his own end zone. They may have even sent 11 to block, as they did with TC last year.
    The quick kick is not only strategic but safe. Early in a road game with momentum still hovering in neutral – this is good football move.

    Paraclete expected this? Yeah right. No question Dahlia realized then and there the dude on the opposite side had his own intentions of setting the games pace.

  • Goldenarm

    sorry, previous post was mine

  • Titan Sports Fan

    GA – you said earlier you dont think mooney is long for SM. is this a gut feeling or maybe know something others dont? if so would you mind sharing your thoughts cause i’ve heard other grumblings that are of similar nature but the direction our program is going is definitely the right one and our young talent at the lower levels are very promising

  • Goldenarm

    Titan Sports Fan,

    I could very well be out to lunch, but I first began thinking this after seeing and hearing Mooney interviewed by MV Sports.

    MM has put his stamp on the SM program. I only wish that stamp had endured longer after his departure from Temple City. NOTHING is more important than fundamentals, and that is Mooney’s foundation for winning football games. Others talk it but don’t walk it, always deviating off and losing the original emphasis. You can’t teach it if you don’t preach it and live by it. You have to breed it in on the freshman level (or earlier if possible)…then by junior and senior year…you’ve got something. Look at TC’s freshman record as compared to Varsity record over the years…You will find 1-9, 2-8 and similar seasons…some of despair. This was the case of Ruckle’s class of 2010, I believe they won 1 or 2 games as freshman.

    Anyway, Mooney has been an asset and impactful person wherever he lays his hat. Were he, Loya and Backus ever to crash on a shuttle to another planet and decide to start a football team…there would be some bad ass aliens wearing chin straps. My gut says MM is itching for a new challenge, maybe jump a level, who knows. No insider knowledge, just a gut feeling.

  • Titans Sports Fan

    GA – thank you for sharing your thoughts but in general from what i’ve heard theres many people who share those beliefs as well. I only hope he stays a few years cuz he’ll be able to do some great things with our group of sophmores and freshmen in a few years very promising and it would be a shame for them to not have the oppurtunity to work with a great coach like him

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