By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Monrovia High School was missing its two marquee defensive players, but the Wildcats did not miss a beat in their Rio Hondo League opener Thursday night.
Highly recruited defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy and junior middle linebacker George Frazier V were suited up but did not play in the visiting Wildcats’ 47-2 victory over La Caada.
“The kids that were in really, really stepped up,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “We have some people beat up, but we were lucky and fortunate we did not need them. We have to get healthy and better each week.”
The Wildcats defense held the Spartans to 80 rushing yards and 94 total yards. The Spartans’ two points were scored when the ball was snapped over the head of Monrovia punter Brandon Wingenbach and out of the end zone in the third quarter.
“We knew they were going to try and stop the run,” La Caada coach Dan Yoder said. “We felt like if we got to that first level, we would be OK. A few times we did. We just never were able to bust one.
“We couldn’t string a bunch of them together.”
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The Wildcats won their 18th consecutive league game dating back to the 2007 season.
Quarterback Blake Heyworth had his way with the Spartans’ defense in completing 15 of 22 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He threw only three passes in the second half.
“We knew it was going to be there, and it was there,” the junior said of the open field. “We were just making the plays. It felt good to get into league and get a good win like that. The line stepped up, giving me time. It was a good team game.”
Seven of those pass completions were to Anthony Craft across the middle for 78 yards.
“He had an incredible game,” Maddox said of Heyworth. “He’s got poise. He’s a great young quarterback. He does something exceptional with the ball and puts it were it needs to be. It’s a great weapon.”
After the Wildcats got their passing game established, they got the running game going. Marquise Bias, starting the running game with draw plays, ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
“The draws were helping out a lot,” he said. “They were kind of hesitating to come back down to me. The line opened up holes for me.”
Monrovia had 392 total yards in the first half en route to a 27-0 lead. The Wildcats, 3-3, finished with 549 total yards.
Maddox contributed a 31-14 loss to San Dimas in the third game of the season with the emergence of a much better team.
“San Dimas was kind of the turning point,” he said. “They shipped off the whole CIF championship game from last year. They kind of walked in expecting to be able to show up and play and they realized we haven’t done anything yet. Since that time, practice has been excellent and they’re doing what is needed.”
La Canada, 1-5, had the ball in Monrovia territory only once, off a Kevin Paynter interception.
“You have to take advantage of the opportunities and we didn’t,” Yoder said.