CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
Monrovia 47, San Dimas 14
Monrovia 7 7 21 16 — 47
San Dimas 6 0 8 0 — 14
M: Jay Henderson 9 pass from Nick Bueno (Mason Bryant kick)
SD: Codee Wats 17 run (run failed)
M: Christian Blanco 7 run (Bryant kick)
M: Blanco 6 run (Bryant kick)
SD: Jordan Taylor 2 run (Theo Darlington run)
M: Bueno 9 run (run failed)
M: Bueno 1 run (Bryant kick)
M: Blanco 3 run (Bryant kick)
M: Blanco 7 run (kick failed)
Records: San Dimas 8-5; Monrovia 11-2
SAN DIMAS — Not this time.
That was the emphatic message the Monrovia High School football team sent to San Dimas in a 47-14 victory that lifted the Wildcats into their 10th CIF championship game.
The Wildcats will face Whittier Christian in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game next Saturday night.
It was a long time coming for Monrovia (11-2), which was meeting San Dimas (8-5) for the fourth time in 14 months. The Wildcats avenged a 12-7 defeat at the hands of the Saints in last year’s Mid-Valley Division final as well as a 35-34 overtime loss in September, a game in which the Wildcats led 28-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
Next Saturday’s championship game (Monrovia is the designated host team, but the home site is still to be determined) will be a rematch of last year’s semifinals at Monrovia. Whittier Christian defeated Olympic League foe Village Christian 43-42 in overtime on Friday to advance.
Nick Bueno, Christian Blanco and Jay Henderson led the Wildcats. Bueno passed for 204 yards and one touchdown, completing 12 of 22 passes.
Blanco had the game of his life. The senior running back rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. Henderson caught eight passes for 157 yards and Luke Williams had four receptions for 54 yards.
“We finished this game,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “We took advantage of turnovers and our rushing game really took control of the second half. Blanco came up huge.”
There was a telling moment with 1:51 left in the third quarter when San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow and part of his coaching staff were lowered from the scissors lift. Zernickow gave the Saints a small pep talk, but it was too little, too late. When it was over, San Dimas had turned the ball over six times and committed 10 penalties.
“We gave them some early Christmas gifts with all those turnovers and penalties,” Zernickow said, “but they’re
Theo Darlington of San Dimas High School runs for yards during Mid-Valley Division football semifinals game against Monrovia High School at San Dimas High School in San Dimas, December 4, 2010. (Correspondent photo by Larry Goren) really good. We couldn’t block them.”
San Dimas’ Shawn Kennedy passed for 82 yards, but was intercepted twice. Jordan Taylor (46 yards rushing), Codee Watts (70 yards rushing) and Kevin Kolbeck (38 yards receiving) were kept in check by Monrovia.
Neither team capitalized on the first set of turnovers, but Monrovia’s Charlie Cimmarusti intercepted Watts at the Saints’ 40 with 7:18 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats didn’t let this opportunity slip away as Christian Blanco capped a six-play, 40-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run to give Monrovia a 14-7 lead with 5:21 left in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Kolbeck eluded two tacklers and needed to get past only kicker Mason Bryant for a sure touchdown. Bryant, however, squared up and tackled Kolbeck at the Monrovia 45. San Dimas advanced to the Wildcats’ 26, but an illegal block forced the Saints to punt on fourth-and-17 at the Monrovia 42.
Again in the third quarter, Kolbeck returned a kickoff deep into Monrovia territory and seemingly had an open field before Bryant, the last defender, made the tackle. It wouldn’t be long before the Saints would score to pull within 21-14 in the third quarter. In that drive, Monrovia was penalized on a personal foul and a face mask before Taylor scored from 2 yards out. Theo Darlington ran it in for the two-point conversion.
The Saints used a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Taylor at the Monrovia 35, but the Saints could not capitalize. Facing fourth and long, San Dimas was forced to punt, but a high snap turned the ball over to Monrovia at the San Dimas 41.
Bueno made San Dimas pay when he scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
Anthony Kraft intercepted Shawn Kennedy on the ensuing possession to give Monrovia the ball at the San Dimas 25. The Wildcats scored two plays later.
On the ensuing kickoff, Monrovia recovered a San Dimas fumble at the Wildcats’ 45. Bueno connected on a 44-yard pass to Henderson before Bueno capped the drive with a 1-yard run to give Monrovia a 34-14 lead with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
Neither team wasted time finding the end zone in the first quarter.
Monrovia’s Jay Henderson caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Bueno to cap an 11-play, 83-yard drive with 7:47 left in the first quarter.
San Dimas answered with a seven-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Watts, who scored from 17 yards out with 5:54 left in the first quarter.