Football: City throws Monrovia a championship rally; Ryan Maddox, one of three finalists for the job four years ago, has done nothing short of an impressive job.

MONROVIA – With police sirens blaring while riding a fire truck and school bus, the Monrovia High School football team was greeted with a boisterous reception at its championship rally Thursday night at Library Park.

It’s the second consecutive year the city of Monrovia honored the Wildcats football team for winning the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship for a second consecutive season.

Monrovia’s team and cheerleaders had a police escort driving down Myrtle Avenue as they waved to local merchants who greeted them with cheers, signs and camera flashes. When the procession arrived at Library Park, it was greeted by hundreds of fans and community members as the Monrovia band serenaded the players who strolled out of the truck and bus one by one wearing their home jerseys.

Monrovia beat San Gabriel, 53-14, in December’s divisional title game.

Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said this kind of celebration never gets old.

“Not at all,” he said. “This is the fun stuff. All the blood, sweat and tears that go into the season, this is the fun stuff you get to celebrate.”

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The championship rally had even more meaning to Monrovia standout De’Shawn Ramirez, who two years ago as a sophomore lost in the division final to San Dimas. He was not on the team his junior year when Monrovia beat Whittier Christian for the school’s first CIF football title in school history.

“I’m really excited, I’m not gonna lie,” Ramirez said. “I still have jitters and all right now.”

The best was yet to come. Moments after the parade ended the team walked across the street for the team’s annual banquet, where they also were measured for championship rings.

“That’s the best part,” Ramirez said. “It’s like if you’re getting married.”

Also absent from last year’s rally was Star-News Defensive Player of the Year Ellis McCarthy, who this time last year was taking part in the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio, Texas. The five-star recruit took part in the U.S. All-American Bowl Game last week where he announced he would play at California next season.

“It was pretty fun,” he said. “We got to ride in the fire trucks. Me, (George Frazier V), Luke (Williams) and Lorenzo (Casas). I’m actually going to miss this whole experience a lot, but let’s see what college brings.”

The city of Monrovia was active in organizing the Wildcats’ rally last year when Monrovia won its first title on its 10th trip to the finals. The city was just as involved this time around as Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz proclaimed Thursday as “Wildcat Day.”

“You have back-to-back titles,” Monrovia principal Darvin Jackson said to the eager crowd that gathered before sundown, “which has all the makings of a dynasty for years to come.”

In just four years at the helm, Maddox has helped land the Wildcats back on the football map. He led Monrovia to the semifinals his first season and reached the finals his second season before winning two consecutive titles.

More than several dozen applied for the coaching position four years ago, and Maddox was one of eight candidates who earned interviews and one of three finalists. Of the three finalists, only one had head coaching experience, and that did not include Maddox ,who was a longtime assistant at West Covina.

Maddox however impressed the hiring committee at his interview with a power point presentation that included his academic philosophy and role as a coach and world history teacher.

Jackson, largely credited for picking Maddox, likened Maddox’s success to Alabama coach Nick Saban, who recently won his second BCS national championship in three years.

“Ryan Maddox is the high school version of Nick Saban,” Jackson said.

As an assistant at West Covina, even then Maddox knew how special it would be to coach at a place like Monrovia, which shows overwhelming support.

“Coaching against Monrovia at West Covina, one of the things I said is I was always amazed how packed the stadium was,” Maddox said. “It was always electric. It’s great to see the support here. I’ve been told about the small-town feel at Monrovia.

“You don’t understand how that works until you’re actually here, and then you know it’s a special place.”

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  • Charles Barkley

    Mr Jackson should have been as diligent in hiring a new basketball coach at Monrovia – instead of giving the job to the knucklehead that he did.
    TUUUURRRRIBBBBLLLLE!!!

  • GrimReaper

    it will be interesting to see what the Monrovia Offense morphs into with the departure of several key seniors.

    Will they become the second coming of the Bueno show, courtesy of the running back little brother. Or will they become a drop back, in the pocket passing team.

    Time will only tell. But given the graduations, the road to the now expected League and CIF title may be a little bit harder than it was this year and last.

  • Observantcat

    Well Grim, get ready for the Morphing of one of the best best incoming Freshman classed in a while. The Cats will be much better than advertised this season including the fact that we have one of the CIF’s best defenses returning this season. The line is probably one of the best we have fielded in a long while as well. But stay tuned for some major surprises this season in the Wildcats backfield. My guess is that we may lose a few great seniors but what we will gain is a more solid team from start to finish this season.

  • New York

    I was more focused on whether or not we will achieve the elusive 14-0 season. I loved the way Bias ran the ball, tough as nails and tons of heart. Having a senior dominated O-line, WR Corps and QB will certainly relieve pressure on the rookie running back. We need to quickly develop a certain nastiness that is requisite for smaller programs to knock off upper division schools, and we need to display that from the very beginning.

  • 6power

    For those bloggers and prep football followers who were in the midst of things when the Maddox decision was made- much has gone unsaid about what was predicted then and how things now are.

    NY had wholeheartedly hoped to see Lujan get the job…but in his usual take the high road style – saw the decision as one he could support despite the initial disappointment. He remained true to his word.
    O-cat had not been happy with Garrison and in the 1st year was keen to point out the Maddox offense was one dimensional and lacked creativity – and that the touches needed better distribution. As the Maddox blanket began to coincidentally address some of the accuracies of what O-cat was saying…the Observant One noted the improvements just as he had the negative points earlier.
    As a once hated and heated adversary of the Monrovia football program, I have seen my team of choice falter and be sucked down a black hole past mediocrity and into a zone where even the simplest degree of football respect has been hard to find. Ram supporters have seen our proud program of fundamentals, self discipline and pride erode to what looks like intramural athletics. It seems some of the new faces at TC are not even aware of what once was – and are busy playing the “we don’t have any talent” card. The Rams have not had a pile of freshman talent in 25 years – but that had never stopped them from being comepetitive in past seasons. We have a good football coach I believe, but the program has spun so far away I am unsure it can EVER be brought back.

    The groundswell of improvement which has swept over the City of Monrovia and the Wildcat football program truly is truly one of the people by the people and shows what a common vision and a hard-ass work commitment can accomplish. It pains me to see the other side of this success, which is the history now being written at Temple City High School. A place where pettiness and short-sighted persons spit out sim-ple made decisions and then stacked poor decisions atop them. The new faces at TC are mostly unaware of what has been stolen from their kids and the legacy before them. Monrovians should be proud of their decision-makers and the fact their 9th graders future is one of a better environment – and definitely a football program that will bestow positive life lessons upon their child, win or lose.