Print the banner, order the hats and shirts and size up the rings.
Monrovia High School will win the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship.
Clean out the trophy case and do away with the nine CIF runner-up plaques.
In the long history of the CIF-Southern Section football playoffs, the Wildcats are the only school to have advanced to nine finals without bringing home a CIF championship.
That ends in three weeks.
Azusa, thanks for coming, but Monrovia will take it from here.
The Wildcats (8-2) will avenge two consecutive losses to San Dimas (6-4) and dethrone the Saints in the semifinals. Azusa (10-0) will be a worthy opponent and, if nothing else, we’ll see a great matchup with a potential shootout.
The taste of a victory for Maranatha (7-3) in the Mid-Valley Division will fuel its drive in 2011 while Covina (9-1) runs into a determined Azusa team in the other semifinal bracket.
The collective talents of Nick Bueno and Ellis McCarthy are enough to give any team the edge. But Monrovia’s supporting cast is what makes them arguably the most dangerous team in the division.
Sophomore George Frazier has the frame (6-2, 200) and pedigree that allows the Wildcats to move pieces within the offense.
Bueno will get his one way or another. He’s passed for 1,258 yards and rushed for 1,226 yards and accounted for 26 touchdowns. Bueno is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare, but when Frazier steps in at quarterback and Bueno moves to slot or tailback, well, that’s just not even fair.
Jay Henderson, Anthony Craft and Luke Williams are playmakers with speed, agility and toughness. Derrin Jenkins has become a show-stopper at cornerback and Derrick Johnson is a punishing linebacker who often directs players to head for the sideline and avoid a bruising collision.
Then there’s Ellis McCarthy. The junior stands an intimidating 6-feet-5 inches and weighs 290 pounds. Opposing teams can double-team and even triple-team the man-child who still has managed to record 11 sacks and counting.
Simply put, no team in the Mid-Valley Division will find a way to contain McCarthy. His pass-rush is textbook, and don’t underestimate his speed. He’s hungry going after the ball and can chase down the run, too.
Monrovia’s relentless pressure establishes the game’s tempo and ultimately its momentum.
Bueno’s ability to balance his arsenal is a huge asset, and he’s proven he can kick it into third gear and run defenses wild with his speed and elusiveness.
Don’t underestimate the pain Monrovia felt losing the way it did to San Dimas in 2009. The Wildcats made a frantic push near the end when rain subsided but to no avail.
The pain followed them through summer ball and into fall camp.
It ends in three weeks.
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox and his Zen-like approach will make way for elation.
The third-year coach led the Wildcats to the semifinals in his first season and a finals appearance last year.
Is this the year?
It only makes sense.