Before we get to my column from Monrovia’s championship win, let me say that M-Town puts on a great show. The new stadium is great. Principal Jackson, the faculty members I rapped with and the fans were all great. I guess I don’t mind donating $5 for parking after all. Awesome to see bloggers New York, Kennedy Bryant and Big Bob, among others, out there. The Wildcats have one of the best and most passionate fan bases in the SGV.
Here’s my column from Saturday, in case you missed it.
There are two undeniable signs that pop up when a high school football program makes the jump from being simply good to a powerhouse.
The first is CIF championships and the second is the presence of blue-chip talent on the roster.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the back-to-back Mid-Valley Division champion Monrovia Wildcats.
For the second consecutive year, the Wildcats preside over a division that surely won’t make headlines outside of the 626 area code, but that really isn’t the point. The way the Wildcats have taken ownership of the division and the caliber of players they’ve done it with is.
Saturday’s 53-14 win over San Gabriel was something most fans expected. But why was Monrovia’s stadium packed if the result simply was a formality?
The answer goes back to the original point: championships and blue-chip recruits. Fans want to see the combination of both, and right now nobody around is doing it better than Monrovia. And Saturday’s game certainly was a spectacle, if not a coronation.
For years, the Wildcats and Rio Hondo League were buried in a CIF wasteland. They were in over their heads all throughout the 1990s and for part of the 2000s. Top-notch teams of the past with some super recruits of their own came up short because even they were in over their heads.
Maybe there’s been some sort of over-adjustment because it’s become quite obvious the Wildcats lay over the Mid-Valley Division. That’s not a bad thing. It’s simply proof that this program is ready for bigger and better. And it’s very apparent Monrovia now can handle bigger and better.
At most schools, losing a quarterback such as last year’s star Nick Bueno would be too much to overcome. At Monrovia, the beat goes on. Bueno wasn’t the only standout the Wildcats lost from last year, but even those were replaced.
Super recruit Ellis McCarthy will be gone next year, as will receiver Luke Williams, running back Marquise Bias and all-purpose threat De’Shawn Ramirez. It won’t matter because, as Saturday showed, there’s a star-in-the-making in linebacker George Frazier and a strong-armed quarterback in Blake Heyworth, who can more than carry the show.
It took the Wildcats some time to put things together this season.
Heyworth didn’t hit his stride until October. McCarthy nursed nagging injuries. Both lines didn’t start to dominate until after they had a few nonleague rehearsals.
By November, the Wildcats simply were intoxicating to watch. The big plays and big hits made several good programs that stood in Monrovia’s way during the playoffs look silly.
Monrovia clearly is to a point where it simply reloads. How many teams around these parts can say that? Longtime Wildcats fans always knew they had a potential dynasty if the circumstances were right. With head coach Ryan Maddox at the helm and CIF paying better attention to how to properly place the Wildcats, that moment clearly has arrived.
Follow me on Twitter @ChemicalAT