Here’s my column from Sunday, in case you missed it.
We can all shut up now.
You. Me. Everybody.
That’s what the Monrovia High School football team essentially said with its 38-8 win over Whittier Christian in Saturday’s championship game of the Mid-Valley Division at Arcadia High.
This wasn’t just a win, it was a statement. It was a “take that” to all the people who used terms such as “bridesmaids,” “seconditis” and “chokers” to describe Monrovia.
For the last nine times Monrovia was in a CIF championship game, all those descriptions applied. The Wildcats were 0-9 with rings on the line.
The 2010 team wore the shroud of doubt from years of championship failure all season. It was theirs because after last year’s failure against San Dimas in the Mid-Valley championship, skepticism over the Wildcats in high- stakes games was at an all-time high.
When the Wildcats lost a local passing league tournament championship game in July to Azusa the naysayers, myself included, remained doubters.
Not haters, mind you, but doubters. There’s a difference.
Monrovia’s nonleague schedule this season was its most difficult in years.
The Wildcats lost to Glendora to start the year. More doubt. When the Wildcats blew a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to San Dimas in overtime, the bandwagon was empty.
But coach Ryan Maddox and his staff slowly molded a team that was not messing around when the truly big games arrived.
More pressure was on this Monrovia team than on any of the great runner- up teams before them. And as is often the case when the pressure builds and the top blows, the explosion was massive.
First it was Gladstone, then Schurr, then San Dimas. No Monrovia championship would be complete without beating San Dimas first.
All that was left in their way was eliminating several years’ worth of disappointment, silencing numerous skeptics and, of course, a 12-1 Whittier Christian team. The Wildcats left nothing to chance Saturday. They knew what they wanted and their defense took it. Literally.
Maddox and his staff had something dialed up for a Whittier Christian offense that was averaging 35 points per game.
Quarterback Nick Bueno was his usual all-around great self. Receiver and kick returner Jay Henderson was a human highlight reel.
The 2010 Wildcats now are legends. They got an entire school and every player who ever wore the green off the hook. That’s the amazing power of a championship.
Soon, they’ll hang the sweetest banner in the sweetest sport any school can hang. Monrovia, in its 10th try, finally is a CIF football champion, and there’s no doubt about it.