FINAL BOX SCORE
CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS
MID-VALLEY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
MONROVIA 38, WHITTIER CHRISTIAN 8
Whittier Christian 0 0 8 0 — 8
Monrovia 0 14 17 7 — 38
M: Jay Henderson 68 punt return (Mason Bryant kick)
M: Henderson 28 pass from Nick Bueno (Bryant kick)
M: Henderson 63 pass from Bueno (Bryant kick)
M: Bryant 32 FG
M: Henderson 46 pass from Bueno (Bryant kick)
WC: Grant Escobar 42 run (Escobar run)
M: Christian Blanco 3 run (Bryant kick)
Records: Whittier Christian 12-2, Monrovia 12-2
By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
ARCADIA – For those who came before them and eyed the ultimate prize nine times in a seemingly standstill span of 75 years, there’s closure at last.
For the Monrovia High School football team that came so close last season after making its first CIF-Southern Section finals appearance in a decade, there’s closure at last.
To say the least, this was a long time coming, and there was no denying the Wildcats in their 10th CIF finals appearance, as Monrovia emphatically raced to a convincing 38-8 victory over Whittier Christian to win its first Mid-Valley Division championship in front of 4,557 at Arcadia High.
“This one is for the community,” said Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox, who’s in his third season at the helm. “It was a long time coming. This one is for the boys.”
Monrovia lost championship games in 1935, 1951, 1959, 1973, 1982, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2009, but this 2010 team that took pride in a punishing defense and an explosive offense is what the Monrovia faithful will remember forever. Perhaps the best part is that the Wildcats now get to add a CIF championship plaque, no doubt the centerpiece to the trophy case that consists of nine runner-up plaques.
Monrovia (12-2) was led by wide receiver Jay Henderson, who caught five passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. He played every bit the part of a senior who left it all on the field.
“I’ve been waiting for a game like this,” Henderson said. “This is my best game ever, and I left it all on the field.”
CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING GAME STORY
Whittier Christian (12-2) was noticeably bothered by the Wildcats’ defensive line, led by Ellis McCarthy, Lorenzo Casas, Adrian Velasco and Jerome Brown. The Heralds’ offense was stagnant, at best, and turned the ball over five times via two fumbles and three interceptions courtesy of Anthony Craft, Derrin Jenkins and Charlie Cimmarusti.
Monrovia led 14-0 at the half and didn’t hold back in the second half. As for the Heralds, there’s plenty to blame for their demise.
Whittier Christian punted five times and fumbled deep in Wildcats territory in the first half. The Heralds didn’t get on the scoreboard until 3:41 left in the third quarter, on Grant Escobar’s 42-yard run. He also ran in the two- point conversion.
Monrovia, by contrast, got stronger as the game progressed. Nick Bueno, the heralded senior quarterback, is widely known for his speed, elusiveness and relentless effort on the ground. He rushed for only 40 yards on 12 carries, but as it turned out, the Wildcats didn’t need him as much on the ground. He also completed 6 of 13 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Christian Blanco had 17 carries for 75 yards and one touchdown.
Whittier Christian’s Stephen Anderson was contained from start to finish and had a quiet night. He completed 15 of 38 passes for 153 yards.
It seemed that whenever the Heralds initiated a long drive, they were stymied by interceptions.
Whittier Christian had a nine-play drive but turned the ball over with 11:31 left in the second quarter, a fumble that was scooped up by George Frazier. The turnover didn’t prove costly, but the same couldn’t be said of the one that came on the Heralds’ next possession.
Whittier Christian’s breakdown on special teams saw Henderson take off for 68 yards with 8:44 left in the second quarter to put the Wildcats on top 7-0. The ball took a one-bounce hop right to Henderson’s chest, and he raced down the Monrovia sideline and cut through the middle and past the kicker.
It wouldn’t be long before Monrovia took advantage of a short field, and it happened with 7:44 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats started at the 50-yard line. Bueno took off from the line of scrimmage on two carries before he connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass to Henderson to make it 14-0 with 7:06 left in the second quarter.
They connected again with 6:36 left in the third quarter, this time for 46 yards, to put the Wildcats up 31-0.
Whittier Christian got off to a bad start in the second half, fumbling at its 13-yard line.
Monrovia settled for a 32-yard field goal from Mason Bryant with 9:21 left in the third quarter, then Blanco made it 38-8 with 11:27 left in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 3-yard run that was set up by Jenkins’ interception.
Monrovia 7, Whittier Christian 0: Jay Henderson returns a punt 68 yards with 8:44 left in the first quarter. The ball took one bounce and into Henderson’s chest as he took off from the 32-yard line.
Monrovia 14, Whittier Christian 0: The Wildcats needed only two plays to double up on Whittier Christian. Quarterback Nick Bueno connected on a 28-yard pass to Henderson with 7:06 left in the second quarter. In that drive, Bueno took off for a 19-yard gain to set up the score.
Monrovia 21, Whittier Christian 0: 63-yard pass to Henderson from Bueno with 11:00 left in the third quarter. Two plays is all that was needed to cap the drive.
Monrovia 24, Whittier Christian 0: The Heralds turn it over on the ensuing kickoff. Monrovia recovered at the Whittier Christian 13 but settled for a 32-yard field goal, courtesy of Mason Bryant.
Monrovia 31, Whittier Christian 0: Henderson connects on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Bueno with 6:36 left in the third quarter. The score was fueled by an Anthony Kraft interception at the Monrovia 48. The ball was deflected in the air and an alert Kraft caught it as he lay on the ground.
Monrovia 31, Whittier Christian 8: Grant Escobar takes off for a 42-yard touchdown run and then runs in the two-point conversion to put the Heralds on top with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
Monrovia 38, Whittier Christian 8: Christian Blanco scored on a 3-yard run with 11:27 left in the fourth quarter. The score was fueled by a Derrin Jenkins interception at the Whittier Christian 3-yard line.