Friday Night Final: No. 2 Monrovia beats No. 1 St. Francis in thriller; San Marino goes to 5-0 and Muir rolls in Pacific League; Pasadena loses to CV



WHO’S NO. 1 NOW?: Monrovia, led by running back Ge Vontray Ainsworth’s 176 yards rushing, held off No. 1 St. Francis, 17-13.
Photo by Larry Goren

By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
twitter.com/srammy8

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – The only thing missing from the Monrovia High School football team’s resume the past two years was a signature victory over an upper-division team.
Not anymore.
Deshawn Potts scored two touchdowns and David Gallegos recovered a St. Francis fumble on the Wildcats 1 with just over a minute to play and Monrovia got its milestone win with a 17-13 victory over St. Francis on Friday in a nonleague game at Friedman Field.
Monrovia, which also got 176 yards rushing from Ge Vontray Ainsworth, improved to 3-2.
St. Francis, which got 177 yards passing from Jared Lebowitz and 71 yards rushing and a touchdown from Daniel Kawamura, slipped to 3-2.
“We expect (to win),” said Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox, whose Wildcats have won the past two CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division titles. “That’s what we expect, that’s what we’re about. We want to play the best. I’m just real proud of the kids and the way they played tonight.”
But St. Francis, which led 13-10 at halftime, nearly stole it away.
Lebowitz had completions of 19, 21 and 14 yards to drive the Golden Knights from their 35 to the Wildcats1. The final toss to John Carroll came on fourth-and-3 from the 15.
But on the next play, Lebowitz fumbled the snap, and Gallegos fell on it to preserve the victory.
“We showed what our defense is made out of,” Gallegos said. “We just tried to stop them. We knew they were going to run up the middle, we just covered our end.
“I saw the ball there, and I just took it. I was so hyped.”
Monrovia, which held St. Francis to 232 yards, took a 17-13 lead when Kawamura fumbled and Potts returned it for a score with 9:01 left in the third quarter.
The first half was all about big plays, and St. Francis one-upped Monrovia for a 13-10 advantage.
St. Francis, which nearly rallied from a two-touchdown deficit before losing to La Mirada two weeks ago, made it 10-6 on 26-yard field goal by Mark Verso before using a 48-yard drive to take the lead.
Kawamura grabbed a 26-yard pass from Lebowitz to the Monrovia 21 before scoring from the 3 for a 13-10 advantage with 3:22 left in the half.
HERE’S A BRIEF LOOK THE OTHER AREA GAMES:
No. 3 San Marino 31, South El Monte 21 — The Titans complete a perfect 5-0 nonleague slate with a come-from-behind victory over the Eagles. But can San Marino, which received 109 yards rushing from quarterback Matt Wofford, beat Monrovia? Can’t wait for week 9.
No. 7 South Pasadena 37, Beverly Hills 25 – The Tigers went into the 90210 to improve to 4-1. The Tigers are looking good going into Rio Hondo League play next week.
No. 8 Muir 63, Hoover 0 — The Mustangs have the look of the Pacific League’s best with an easy victory to improve to 2-3 overall and 2-0 in league play. Muir gets another easier one next week when it faces Glendale.
Bell-Jeff 50, No. 9 Pasadena Poly 49 – A heart-breaking loss for the Panthers, who gave up a touchdown and two-point conversion with four seconds to play.
Crescenta Valley 17, Pasadena 14 – The Bulldogs came up short in perhaps their final game without standout Brandon Cox. Pasadena should get a boost from the senior, but will it be enough. Kylon Fleming had 123 yards rushing for the Bulldogs.
Temple City 20, Rosemead 10 — How ’bout those Rams. Temple City, after failing to score during the first three weeks, is suddenly 2-3 after winning its second consecutive game. Nick Starling had 144 yards rushing for the Rams.
Arroyo 42, La Canada 7 — Another loss for Sparta, which slipped to 1-4.
Burbank 41, Arcadia 20 – The Apaches, getting 48 yards rushing from Sheldon McKinley, came back to early after opening Pacific League play with a victory.
Marshall 38, Angelou 20 – The Eagles, getting three TDs from Mark Metino and two from Christian Clark, won their third game of the season.
Eagle Rock 85, Blair 0 — The Vikings, lost 22 players due to grades two hours prior to kickoff and were no match for the Eagles.

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  • New York

    It’s frustrating to continually read that Ayala and South Hills were considered “step-up” games. We lost at Ayala by one point after missing two extra points in the fourth quarter. Against South Hills we had around 6 turnovers, made a bad decision to go for two, and still were in a position to win. How can those games possibly be step-up games if we are that close to winning despite such a poor performance on our part?

    The answer is that those two teams were not step-up games for Monrovia this year. Divisional differences do not create the step-up. The team does. That’s why Saint Francis is really the first step-up game of the season for Monrovia.

    By the way, St Francis will be Monrovia’s FOURTH road game out of a five game pre-season. We went on the road to Ayala for our first game even though it was Ayala’s second game. We went on the road to South Hills and played them on a shortened week even though they were coming off a bye-week. Tonight we are on the road at St. Francis. Crappy scheduling? Yes. Excuses? NO!

    We need to be better and stop giving games away. The ways we have lost thus far are indicative of a team that is talented but not very good and not prepared to play football.

  • New York

    It’s frustrating to continually read that Ayala and South Hills were considered “step-up” games. We lost at Ayala by one point after missing two extra points in the fourth quarter. Against South Hills we had around 6 turnovers, made a bad decision to go for two, and still were in a position to win. How can those games possibly be step-up games if we are that close to winning despite such a poor performance on our part?

    The answer is that those two teams were not step-up games for Monrovia this year. Divisional differences do not create the step-up. The team does. That’s why Saint Francis is really the first step-up game of the season for Monrovia.

    By the way, St Francis will be Monrovia’s FOURTH road game out of a five game pre-season. We went on the road to Ayala for our first game even though it was Ayala’s second game. We went on the road to South Hills and played them on a shortened week even though they were coming off a bye-week. Tonight we are on the road at St. Francis. Crappy scheduling? Yes. Excuses? NO!

    We need to be better and stop giving games away. The ways we have lost thus far are indicative of a team that is talented but not very good and not prepared to play football.

  • Bigfatfan

    SP defeats Beverly hills 37-25

  • Titansportsfan

    Was Beverly hills starting quarter back playing or was the backup in? Either way considering what sm did last week not impressive

  • bigfatfan

    Titan, who cares, you guys had a nice cushy home game, we had to do it on the road. here’s to spoiling your Week 10 homecoming game on November 2!

  • rhlfan

    titansportsfan and bigfatfan,

    a win’s a win in my book, and considering the score in the sm-sem game, that’s not very impressive either…

    although i still say sm will pull it out in week ten, gonna be a good game

  • Titansportsfan

    Can’t really remark on the game today for sm considering I wasn’t able to attend. Yes we had cushy home game which we shut out and rolled last week could have been running clock whole second half …. And how unimpressive are game was tonight it seems loke it was a much better road win than SP received against BH…. All power to SP in week 10 I know u will bring your best game but so far not concerned get by TC who beat Hoover who you inexplicably lost too and beat rosemead before I start to worry

  • New York, NY

    The two minute drill in 5:20 minutes. Really guys?

  • bigfatfan

    Blair loses 85-0!! remind me again why they are in the RHL? there is no plausible explanation, othe than the ADs in the league dont want to step up and stop the madness. newspaper says they were “making up plays on the field tonight because they lost 20 guys due to poor grades” that is pathetic and embarassing.

  • Bob Anon

    BFF: How long before you start saying “remind me again why LC is in the RHL?”

    I have to think the new coach needs some time for LC, but this is four blowouts in a row. The only winnable game left is Blair. TC, SM, SP, and M-Town are gonna mercy this team.

  • Mtowncat

    St. Francis is lucky Monrovia didn’t just run the ball the whole game. 7 yards a carry every single time. Too much passing!! Good game Cats… I bet Lebowitz is having trouble moving today that boy was getting rocked every single play.

  • New York

    Ainsworth early and often and then play action passes deep would likely be 5-0 and a blowout last night. Simple stuff with a lot of attitude tends to work out for Monrovia. Our receivers are not very good with possession catches but they are fast and make plays on deeper balls. Hopefully we will keep learning and get there.

  • FYI

    Muir has a chance to shutout over half of the league, and maybe more. They shutout their first two opponents (even though one of them was lowly Hoover) and they play Glendale next who was shutout by PHS. I hope their coaches have a lot of milk to swallow those donuts down with on Saturday mornings.

  • bigfatfan

    Sounds to me like Mtown was one botched snap away from losing that game? St Francis fumbles on the one yard line as they are going in for the go ahead score late in the game? Otherwise Mtown loses. Not sure I’d crow too loud. but MTown is clearly playing way above the rest of the RHL. “if you build it, they will come”, and Mtown has been able to stockpile talent. how much of that is home grown and how much is due to families transfering to get in a good program. Oh well. great job. I doubt they will find much league competition.

  • PurdueAlum05

    Titansportsfan,
    The starting qb for BHS was #14. He looked pretty good, so I am guessing that it was their starting qb. He got knocked out of the game for a couple of plays and #11 came in and looked pretty bad. SP’s defense looks awful if you ask me…well at least in the first half. I thought the SP coaches did a great job of making adjustments and held them to 7 points in the second half. I will say this about BHS, it is the only school that I have seen that doesn’t have stands for the visiting team. I couldn’t believe it and the refs for some reason weren’t calling illegal procedures against BHS all game long. It was bad but at least SP got the win. I think SM has the edge over SP but I hope they Tigers prove me wrong.

  • Fight Onnnn

    Was that even a fumble by kawamura in the 3rd quarter his knee appears to be down when the ball comes out…?

  • rhlfan

    purduealum05,

    you’d think that the 90210 could afford some away bleachers..

  • FootballGuy

    Bob Anon,
    Doesn’t get any easier for LC. San Marino and Monrovia to start RHL. I know they do not have great numbers, but every week the coach has a new excuse.

  • GrimReaper

    It is high school football, anything can and will happen. Monrovia could lose in league.. it is possible. La Canada could all of a sudden gel and beat somebody big. South Pasadena could play a big game. Or conversely injuries could sap any and all. RHL league games are just starting and the season is less than half way.

    The one thing I can offer at this time is Monrovia has a lot more depth than any other program in the RHL, and can more likely survive a key injury to a leading player. If Gott or Wolford go down at SM, it will then become a struggle as the defense can key on a more one dimensional attack. At Monrovia, if Heyworth goes down, it is going to be a problem.

    So the situation can change in a second, and even if not, high school kids can over and under perform at any time..So life is far from certain in the RHL much less any high school football league.

  • GrimReaper

    NOTE TO ARAM and FRED:
    Re: Cars in the lot joke SM BH.

    One thing I know, is SM won regardless of the type of car in the parking lot. SM went in to a school where the lot has a bunch of work pick up trucks and 10+ yr old cars and still won. So BH BMW or SEM F150, it didnt matter.

    The SM rich kid joke is so old an stale, you should think twice before you take it out of your bag.

    The SM athlete works hard, as they have a lot of competition both on the field and in the classroom.
    The SM student athlete should be given his/her due.. not made fun of over what car is in the parking lot.

  • PurdueAlum05

    rhlfan,
    I felt like not have visiting bleachers was definitely a disadvantage for the away team, especially in high school football. I have never seen anything like it in my life. BHS also uses their football as a baseball field too. It is a really weird setup.

    GrimReaper,
    Both of your posts make great points. I agree.

  • bigfatfan

    Purdue, what happened to our buddy SPGrad. after three straight wins by the Tigers, he is nowhere in sight.

    I disagree with you about the BH QB, #14, he was pretty bad, could not throw the ball with any velocity or accuracy. their runners kept getting into our defenseive backfield and DBs had to make numerous stops on runs. LBs need to step it up and fill holes against Monrovia or it will be a long night.

  • rhlfan

    purduealum05 and grimreaper,

    going off the SM student-athlete thing…academics are crazy over at that school. the competition is extremely high and most if not all of the football players take their academics very seriously…

    i remember the TC game, I was wondering why SM hadn’t completely destroyed TC last year, and I heard that pretty much half the team had stayed up until three in the morning studying for finals or working on projects…crazy.

  • PurdueAlum05

    Bigfatfan,
    He wasn’t a great pocket passer but their team played way better with him in the game than #11. #14 did have some passes against our D. Plus, BHS is a running team team. They ran all over us in the first half. Is #14 the qb that SM knocked out of the game against them or their backup? Monrovia is going to put up at least 40 on us, I hate to say it but it’s true.

  • PurdueAlum05

    Bigfatfan,
    He wasn’t a great pocket passer but their team played way better with him in the game than #11. #14 did have some passes against our D. Plus, BHS is a running team team. They ran all over us in the first half. Is #14 the qb that SM knocked out of the game against them or their backup? Monrovia is going to put up at least 40 on us, I hate to say it but it’s true.

  • bigfatfan

    Purdue, I am not willing to conceed anything to MTown. thats why we play the games. last year, we held them down for a good portion of the game, and our boys stepped up and played valiantly. so here’s to a week of great prep down on Freemont in anticipation of Friday.

  • PurdueAlum05

    Bigfatfan,
    Wanna bet lunch at Hi-Life? I hope I am wrong but I am being realistic. San Gabriel put up 40 on us and they are having a down year. Plus, I can’t get over losing to Hoover. All of our wins have come against a combined record of 5-15 record. Also, Hoover is 2-3. I can’t get over that loss.

  • New York

    Does San Marino HS grade on a curve? If so, that curve could be pretty fierce with that enrollment.

    Anyway, it’s always nice for me to see San Marino football rolling like the days of Maloney and Loyd. I always respected how those guys played hard and stayed calm under pressure. Maloney was one of the most thorough and knowledgeable high school coaches I have ever spoken with. AND he was able to convert that knowledge into tactical on-field execution and beat teams they had no business beating.

    Now we need to figure out how to resurrect the Temple City program…

  • Philly B

    Good stuff Aram and fred, glad to hear fred give monrovia a lil credit for once haha. AND GREAT WIN FOR THE WILDCATS BEATING ST FRANCIS, I KNEW they could put it together, and some bloggers wanna say they almost lost because they SF was near the one and fumbled. well..they fumbled and lost, so close to losing and losing IS TWO DIFFERENT THINGS AND MHS GOT THE WIN. And my goodness….G5 is a monster, he’s HUGE!! and those D-lineman are some big boys too! Havent seen a big monrovia team (with the exception of ellis) since 2002-03 season. This is a great win going into league and Aram your completely right because if monrovia would have lost that game, and won out through league and (which they will) and possible won yet another CIF title, it wouldnt mean as much or have as much meaning when we lost to SF! Im proud of this team good job. And yes we need to play muir, La Mirada, and even have maddox go to West Covina as a reunion and play his old team. Did I say we’ll beat all those teams?? No But would it have monrovia be challenged and step up to the plate and play some teams that they are not favored to win??? YES!

    Now that being said, the Rio Hondo is league is set as in who will win first place, thats the wildcats, for the very reason, no other team in the RHL could go on the road and Beat a team like SF. But as far as who will be the 2nd and 3rd place teams….I LITERALLY HAVE NO CLUE. Good win for south pas and Temple City! I hope those two teams compete hard going into league. Because I really think San Marino’s undefeated record is suspect to me. Yeah SouthPas lost to hoover…call it a fluke or whatever, they beat up BH just like SM did, just a diff score. Thats all. SouthPas will have its work cut out for them against Monrovia though. San marino has two more weeks to enjoy not being tested and riding their unbeaten season, until they face Temple City. IM CALLING IT NOW, TEMPLE CITY UPSETS SAN MARINO AT HOME!!!! “I MAY BE WRONG BUT I DOUBTED” I want recognition if I am right too lol.

    GrimReaper, Monrovia wont lose in league, Im sorry it just wont happen

    And Can someone tell me about these schools Ive never even heard of nor knew that were in the mid-valley: Brentwood school, Windward, and Viewpoint????

  • Titansportsfan

    San Marinos non league is suspect but the teams they were supposed to roll they have which shows a focused discipline team. There win against CV is the best victory the RHL has had besides monrovias W against st . Francis … And SM rolled that game pretty handedly as well …. South el monte isn’t a scrub team they’ll be there fighting for a playoff spot or maybe winning there league by seasons end ….the body of work SM has done is vastly superior than anyone else’s besides mtowns … TC I think will give us a game seem to be starting to gel a bit more but I know we won’t overlook them either

  • The Observer

    Philly B,

    Every week, after a Monrovia wins of course because God forbid you thump your chest after a loss, you come out and run your mouth and beat your chest like some kind of gorilla. You predicted that BH would beat SM because you had “some kind of feeling” about it. Give me a break. You’re just making joke predictions that will make you LOOK smart if they turn out to be right (which they won’t) so that you’ll get to thump your chest a little more. If SM beats TC, I want you to come out and say “San Marino is a better team that I thought it was.”

    Elaborate on how a schedule Eagle Rock, Crescenta Valley, Nogales, Beverly Hills, and SEM is ANY more “suspect” than San Gabriel, HOOVER, Glendale, Alhambra, and, again, Beverly Hills. Why don’t you give SM credit? 45-0 and 37-25 are no where near the same scores. Please.. What do you have against San Marino?

    Those schools are in the Alpha League.

  • New York

    Barring injury, I anticipate San Marino blowing out every team in league except Monrovia.

    If Monrovia does not adjust our strategy and scrap plays that our players just don’t execute, then San Marino will give us a game. I wouldn’t throw Craft and Bryant anymore passes over the middle. I would throw to Frazier, Walsh and Ainsworth and maybe Bueno down the middle. I would let Craft and Bryant use their speed to run down the sideline, take reverses and throw reverse passes.

    Bread and butter 25+ times per game would be handing to Ainsworth to get him rolling and allow everything else to set up. Bryant and Craft could each have 5-8 catches per game off play action for roughly 75 to 120 yards each.

  • PurdueAlum05

    The Observer,

    I believe SM knocked out the starting qb for BHS when they play them, at least that is what I heard people say here on the blog, and that it made a huge difference. I have to agree because SP was able to take out the BHS starting qb in the third quarter for a couple plays and they didn’t look like the same team with the backup qb. So to compare scores as an indication of whether or not SM is better than SP doesn’t work here. Also, SP could have scored a td with a minute to go in the game but decided to knee the ball at the BHS 2 yard line. I will say this, as of right now I think second place belongs to SM. I think both teams have played similiar competition and SM has had better results, 5-0 vs. 4-1. I can’t hate on that. We’ll see how it plays out.

  • Mean Green Pastures…

    Monrovia does not have the toughest strength of schedule throughout the entire SGV, however they do in regards to Midvalley standard. The St Francis game was sold out, and had the feel of a CIF title game. Monrovia Won. The San Dimas game had the feel of a Semifinals game, and both teams will be in the semi’s. Those two games right there were far tougher than anything anyone in the midvalley has seen. The will also have a W over San Marino, which should Finish 9-1 and is better than any of the second place teams except the winner of Sierra Canyon/Paraclete Finally. The RHL belongs to Mtown, Plain and simple. The #1 team on the west side will 3 peat.

    Thanks,

  • philly b

    Observer,
    nearly every year, sm gets hyped up off there suspect schedule and they get in the playoffs and exit faster then they got in 1st round, and you wanna beat your chest like a cute Lil monkey because SM knocked out BH qb?!?! Remember its Beverly hills, they are not known for football. Yeah they won and beat, CV, im still not buying into San Marino, 1st round exit in a weak midvalley. If AND I MEAN IF san Marino beats TC, then ill say the titans are better than i thought they were, my predictions arent jokes they have weight. I didn’t think Monrovia would beat Ayala once i saw the schedule, i felt Monrovia had a good shot at st Francis and they dif. And if being proud of my old alum is pounding like a gorilla then so be it

  • rhlfan

    philly b,

    the last two times SM has gone to playoffs: 2009, nearly beat azusa in second round. 2011, nearly beat san dimas in first round, after seriously giving them a run for their money (i was at that game, what else to do thursday night)

    why do you doubt san marino? you’ve given zero “weight” behind any of your predictions, other then they have a suspect schedule…going off what the observer said, you might as well say south pas shouldn’t be going anywhere either…

    SM won’t be getting much competition the next three weeks…LC got blown out by two teams that SM beat, blair is well…blair, and TC’s option attack is no where near as strong as SM’s option attack led by a former D1 offensive coordinator…and comparing defenses, SM blows every RHL team (besides monrovia) out of the water…8.4 per game…

    so tell me, why do you doubt san marino?

  • philly b

    Because San Marino lacks speed And athleticism. They can be fundamental all they want, will never be good enough to win league nor go Deep in the playoffs.

  • rhlfan

    Wofford, Gott, Wood.

    Not athletic enough, are you kidding me?

  • The Observer

    Firstly, Purdue Alum,

    The starting quarterback for Beverly Hills against San Marino was #8. He was knocked out and they played #14 the rest of the way. So the difference in the scores may not be as skewed as you may believe.

    Philly B,

    Alright, I will hold you to that.

    I’m not trying to argue that San Marino is good enough or athletic enough to win a championship. I just can’t find the reasoning you have to believe that South Pasadena or even Temple City, after the way the preseason has played out, are better than San Marino. Do you honestly believe SP and TC have more athletes than SM does?

  • PurdueAlum05

    The Observer,
    You still can’t look at scores to justify how good a team is. Take for example Nogales, San Marino beat them 63-0, while South El Monte won 19-6. San Marino had to comeback to beat South El Monte. How do you explain that?

  • bigfatfan

    Purdue, its irrelevant, kids are kids, and you just cant do those types of analyses. SM had a home game against BH, SP had to win on the road. completely different animals. hopefully in five weeks, Nov. 2nd, its SM and SP battling for a playoff spot. and here’s to SP ruining SM’s homecoming game festivities.

  • PurdueAlum05

    bigfatfan,
    I agree with you. My senior year we were terrible and we ended up tying Monrovia 20 to 20. We should have beaten them but we had a bonehead returning kicks who told everyone on the team to get away from the ball and he didn’t pick it up. Monrovia recovered at our own 5 yard line to go ahead 14-7. It was terrible momentum but we were able to over come it and block a game winning field goal. Monrovia was 6-2 going into the game while we were 3-5, so yes, anything can happen. I hope our Tigers can pull it out Friday.

  • Philly B

    Please hold me to it, Im man enough to admit being wrong, i’ll still sleep at night. Im not sure if SP has more or even the same amount of athletes as San Marino, Im pretty sure T.C. doesnt this year…but like Ive said before I truly believe SP and TC just match up well against San Marino. SM isnt gonna out run you but they can out hustle you on every play. And SP and T.C. can do those things as well. I’ll assume T.C. has gotten that option set they’re running, a lil bit more fined tuned and South Pas Should just have a chip on there shoulders after getting snubbed last year, they need to prove this season they just deserve to have a playoff berth and I think that’ll happen when they go to San Marino for homecoming. Thats just my opinion Rhlfan, dont take it personal son.

  • New York

    Regarding San Marino:
    Is Wofford related to a guy who played on the 1994 team as a linebacker and O-lineman?

    The last time Monrovia missed the playoffs was 2003 and it was at the hands of San Marino. The winner got to go to the dance, and San Marino beat Monrovia.

    This group of seniors is the class that Coach Mooney was excited about when they were freshmen.

    The Committee that selected Coach Hobbie included Oaks Christian Head Coach Bill Redell.

    Coach Hobbie is the former Offensive Coordinator at South Florida. He then apparently turned an 0-10 Roosevelt (Fresno) team into winners.

  • Philly B.

    Aye NY dont remind me, that was hard for me, I remember all the players our star players were looking forward to basketball season and playing under garrison they pretty much checked out. Still pains me, but then again, that was a long time ago, a decade to be exact.

    Well We’ll see what San Marino’s “tough schedule” will do in league play