Football: Monrovia prospered from quarterback duel.


Above: Monrovia QB Blake Heyworth commands the offense brilliantly.

It only seemed that out of nowhere came a quarterback battle for the starting spot at Monrovia High School.

It almost was a given that upon Nick Bueno’s graduation George Frazier V would take over. There was no question the highly touted junior had the skills and, most important, leadership.

Over the summer Blake Heyworth transferred from St. Francis. The junior quarterback’s arrival didn’t immediately turn the position situation into a battle, at least not yet.

Heyworth, for one, was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder. He not only still was learning the offense but he was not cleared for a hardship waiver from the CIF-Southern Section.

It was quite the conundrum for Maddox – give Frazier all the first-team snaps over the summer and into fall camp until Heyworth was cleared, or prepare Heyworth just in case.

Maddox, leading Monrovia to its third consecutive trip to the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division finals on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against San Gabriel, took the latter route. Frazier shared reps with Heyworth over the summer, but it was clear Frazier still was expected to start.

“Until Blake got cleared he understood that George was going to get most of the reps with the first team,” Maddox said. “If he wasn’t cleared George would have been our quarterback. It was one of those things where we didn’t know what was going to happen so we had to wait.”

Heyworth wasn’t fazed and gradually began taking hold of the offense, but the season was fast approaching and Heyworth still wasn’t cleared by CIF. It was becoming clear Frazier would start in the season opener against Glendora. That week, just days before breaking ground on the 2011 season, Heyworth was cleared.

The quarterback battle now was official.

Heyworth’s hardship waiver paved the way for an daily battle at practice. Heyworth, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, did not play against Glendora and saw limited time in a loss to Arcadia. Then, in Week 3, Heyworth got the nod against San Dimas and passed for 202 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-14 loss.

The following week wasn’t kind either, a 34-30 loss to South Hills. Heyworth then engineered an impressive comeback against Paramount the following week by passing for 396 yards and six touchdowns in a 40-36 win.

Monrovia is 7-0 since, and Heyworth clearly has taken command of a unit that has dismantled defenses in the playoffs. Whittier Christian, for example, gave up 67 points. Heyworth has passed for 2,276 yards and 24 touchdowns against just four interceptions.

Maddox’s “just in case” approach paid off.

“Their strength coming out was their leadership ability,” he said. “Heyworth’s got it. Whatever it is. He has an amazing touch and is a great student of the game. He sees the field very well usually putting the ball in the right spot.

“You can see the improvements, and as a coach you like to see the progress. We’re gonna be very fortunate to have him back next year.”

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  • Hoss Cartwright

    Blake is a D1 prospect. 6’2 185 (still growing) Strong Arm, Great touch, Smart with the ball. It’s Easy to get lost in the crowd of good SGV Qb’s…Santiago, Rivera, Elfers, Livingston, Ruiz, Omana, Cox. But Blake has kept working, and he has put himself in the Argument as one of the best in the Area this year. There is no doubt he will be one of the Top Returner in this Area. Playing with Ellis, means you get seen. Someone Saw this kid this year. A couple of camps in the Summer, and Serious workout plan. The sky is the limit. He has Craft, Bryant, TE G Frazier back next year. Way to keep Plugging Blake.

    -Hoss

  • GrimReaper

    Agreed Heyworth is the real deal…yes a potential big time D-1 candidate in the making.

    He has a very good arm, and is more of a drop back QB. If he grows he will easily eclipse anything Bueno might do at college. Depending on McCarthy’s future health, maybe him too.

    He has the ability to hit receivers that are layered in a short and deep zone, and when need be he can drill in a pass to get to the the target in a small crease.

  • GrimReaper

    Note,
    have stood next to him on the sideline, 6’2″ seems an exaggeration, unless I have continued to grow.

    but unlike me he has a chance to grow and fill out.

  • Red Leader

    What the heck? Did you just knock on Bueno and Ellis? I don’t think that comment was necessary.

  • GrimReaper

    Reaper to Red Leader… Reaper to Red Leader..

    Talk about thin skinned!

    I was pimping your QB.. I think he may have more potential than you think. The fact that I think he may end up achieving more in college than Bueno, who is challenged due to his size (not his athletic ability) and observed that if health (injury) affects McCarthy in the future (note McCarthy was out much of the early season with what appeared to me to be a knee injury).

    Who knows what Heyworth may achieve. He has a great arm and touch, and with some size and strength added from just growing up, you might just see him achieve a lot.

    But like a lot of Monrovia boosters on the blog, you jump to the unwarranted conclusion that I am “knocking” McCarthy and Bueno. Get over it I am not a Monrovia “hater” as is often thrown out on these pages.

    Question: are you then “knocking” your own QB Heyworth. Maybe it is you that is not giving your own, his due.

  • Red Leader

    Hey GrimReaper. First off, happy holidays.

    Nope, I’m not knocking our qb. He’s a good kid with a good arm and good vision. And has become an outstanding leader on this team. I’m looking forward to another year with him at the helm along with all the returning underclassmen.

    I’ll just let each kid’s individual achievement stand by itself and would rather not compare them to each other.

    You bring up McCarthy’s knee injury as a “health issue” but you failed to notice that Heyworth was recovering from a shoulder surgery on his throwing arm. I hope neither one will be an issue in the future.

    As far as Bueno. He chose to attend a university that would allow him to play both football and baseball. That’s a pretty big accomplishment in itself.