Monrovia’s backfield is getting more crowded …

PHOTOS: M-Town back in pads

The Monrovia High School football team’s embarrassment of riches continues.

Running back was supposed to be an area of concern for the Wildcats this season after graduating leading rusher Marquise Bias in June. That worry didn’t even last until spring ball thanks to the transfer of Covina leading rusher Gevontray Ainsworth, who figured to be in a battle with only Jacob Bueno for the starting job this fall.

Well, you can add another name to the fray and he could be the best of all three. Darrione Jones, a junior who didn’t play last season but was the leading rusher on the Wildcats’ freshmen team two years ago, has been turning heads thus far in practice and may play his way into a big role in this year’s offense.

“It’s possible,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said when asked if Jones could end up being the starter. “It’s just a matter of if we’ve got multiple players who are good we will find some sets and formations where we can get those kids on the field.”

Calling the running game an area of concern is true nitpicking. Yes, the leading rusher has to be replaced, but Ainsworth ran for over 1,000 yards last season for semifinalist Covina. But given how loaded Monrovia is everywhere else on offense, sweating the running game happens by default.

Maddox said that senior quarterback Blake Heyworth is considerably better than what he was at this point last season, which is scary considering Heyworth threw for 2,377 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011.

“With Blake returning, more can be put on his plate,” Maddox said. “He’s world better than last year and we thought he was pretty dang good last year. With his experience and ability to get the ball out of his hands, it’s pretty incredible.”

The Wildcats open the season on Aug. 31 against upper-division Ayala, which plays in the Sierra League and Inland Division. The game is part of Maddox’s attempt to beef up Monrovia’s nonleague schedule. The Wildcats will play four upper-division teams in the nonleague, culminating with arguably the game of the year in the Star-News area on Sept. 28 at St. Francis.

“I would say it’s a better start than last year,” Maddox said of his team’s attitude in practice. “It’s just because of the senior leadership. They’re just such a phenomenal group. I’ve never had a group of kids like this. They’re high character and leaders. They’re out there working when we’re not.

“So far, there’s been no motivational issues. They’re out there busting their butts and working hard.”

  • Angola Prison

    D.Jones is a legit threat to start. He is beast and for those of you who have been around M-town for a long time, my sources tell me he is a quicker, faster version of Monrovia great PAUL HEWITT.

  • Gp-

    Running Back “X” has been announced formally. You always want to have this kind of competition in your backfield. The Proven Senior Starts, the hungry Jrs plays alot as well. With Both these guys in the backfield, along with Bueno, Defenses will have fits with fresh backs in. This backfield will be as good as any in the SGV. There are also two very special backs on the freshman team. Monrovia is looking good at the skills for the next 3 years.

  • Anthony

    I don’t know if this got out but here’s a story about Ellis McCarthy Defensive end Ellis McCarthy, considered the jewel of UCLAs freshman class, underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

    McCarthy, ranked the No. 2 defensive tackle by Scout.com last year, will miss the first part of training camp.

  • Full Info

    The only for sure back would be Ainsworth. Hope Monrovia has as least one more guy stepping up.

  • Observantcat

    Thats old news Anthony, Ellis is well into recovery and will probably get his opportunity to play late Sept. Early Oct., but good looking out. As Far as Jones, Bueno, Ainsworth and another Jones(White LIghting) Once they sync they will be the most dominate group of backs in the entire Valley. D. Jones is the real deal, ask Arcadia…..

  • New York

    Nice story, but nothing new in the backfield department. I long for the day that we have more dominant linemen than we know what to do with.

    In the meantime, our execution needs to be flawless against this pre-season schedule. Special teams included. The best line in that article was Maddox mentioning that he is exploring sets to get everyone out on the field. If Blake can find the mismatches and get those folks the ball then we will have some nice success.

  • New York

    I hope we figure out where to play some of these guys on defense as well. Having fresh impact players flying around on D can make a big difference. Special teams as well.

  • Not So Fast My Friend

    Well so much for all that “M-Town is ‘just’ a D-11 school” mumbo jumbo.

    I’ll be looking forward to seeing them against Ayala. That should be a good tune up test and show where they’re at.

  • New York

    Ayala will be far more than a tune up. It will be a full on battle for our linemen. Our guys better be ready to play low and fast all night. Our O-line needs to play in unison.

    Our skill and big-skill guys need to prove they are worthy of the headlines they have been getting.

    Lack of offensive chemistry will lead to a game similar to South Hills last year. The clock will strike midnight early for Monrovia if we are not tuned in from the beginning.

    On the other hand, a Monrovia team that is well-oiled going into game one and seeks to improve the little things every week should be able to run the table.

  • Not So Fast My Friend

    New York

    Tune up was just a metaphor for the first game of the season. lol.

    But excellent points! It’ll be a good test in terms of evaluating M-Towns capabilities. But if they do well, get the “W” then I agree, the possibility of running the table will be strong.

    It’s almost here, which makes it one of those “Gentlemen, start your engines” moments.

    Love it!

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    New York,

    I don’t think Ayala will be much of a test for Monrovia line-wise. Their line guys are as big as their skill guys and that’s the concern they have in the Sierra League and Inland Division. They have skill guys good enough to hang in that league, but they’re small on the lines. Jordan Robinson will be one of the best all-around players Monrovia sees this season.

    Ayala should be very good offensively, but the question is whether they’ll be able to stop anyone. They really couldn’t last year. They allowed 45 points per game in league last year.

    Make no mistake, Monrovia is a solid favorite in this game. You’re not playing Chino Hills here.

  • Desert Rat

    Nice…Paraclete’s backfield is loaded too!

  • Green pastures aka “El Gato Monte”

    Monrovia is ready for some smash mouth football. I think our line is going to step up. New York, I Think Maddox should let you chew their @$$es prior to Ayala game. There is no room for sloppy play. However, we have 3 exceptional backs. “Starter” is just a word. We need to use the back that suits us best in that situation, and use the Senior down the stretch.

  • New York

    I never take anything for granted, especially when our opponent will already have one real game under their belts.

  • legend

    The Ainsworths are proven!

  • Mean Green Pastures….

    Legend you are correct.

    Ainsworth did have 1500 + yrds last year, with Covina giving the ball to Venegas too much! This thread is a good stir people up type article. Although Maddox said others are a threat to start, Ainsworth is the Starter End of story. Since he is a transfer, Maddox is going make it hard on him, and make sure he earns the spot. Jones and Bueno are nice!!! However, the young cats can be a big help filling in. Bueno can also play WR, so he can motion in and out of the backfield. Moreover,down the stretch, Ainsworth experience is going to play a big factor. He had a nice game against the cats in the Semis, so we know well what he is capable in a big game setting. It’s a blessing not a curse to have 3 excellent backs.

  • legend

    Ainsworth is the hog of the crowded bunch, bottom line and I have been around the M and the D for a long time!

  • Monrovia Hammer

    I am going the other way. I think Coach M will use the Ainsworth size more on defense. I think his yardage was over etimated by about 400 in this post. He has great size. But its easy to spot him comming through the line.
    I believe Monrovia likes the faster “Bias” or “Jones” Running back package. Low to the ground and crafty.

    Aram, I liked the article. I believe it was the other Jones who had the freshman MVP when Darrione Jones played freshman.
    Darrione is a good young man. He will have a great 2years of football.

  • legend

    The statistics were not an estimation, they were facts, please believe, check the facts. Also nobody cares about a freshmaun year, the other two backs has not yet to play on a Friday night ! Ainsworth will be stunning, for the cats! It’s in his blood. Stop hating!

  • GP-

    Huh?

  • mhs83

    Anyone notice Monrovia is wearing “throwback” white helmets.

  • New York

    Yea with white face masks too. All the stick marks will come during games. Players will be able to track their progress each week.

  • current Cat

    Don’t fall asleep on Bueno. Pound for pound the strongest player on the team and one of the quickest.

  • Honesty and Evaluation

    AINSWORTH LOOKED GREAT TONIGHT looked better than any back out there tonight. And if you dont believe me ask all the fat guys on the Sidelines. BACK-BACK-BACK

  • lol

    @gp you are funny monrovia schedule is bubble yum at its finest. they dont look that good either and amat will hand it to them hands down and your rb are average. 1500 doesnt count in those leagues its really 500 in pac 5 but thats if if they have the heart to run hard in that big boy division. im seeing right now why amat is boss in sgv you guys run your mouths all preseason for this. lol only team worth speaking on you play is st francis. you guys lost to south hills last year a 3-7 team hwo damien beat 47-38. a damien team amat beat 28-7( they scored on lucky play). you have no more merritt on this blog i thought you knew football. hw could hang with you guys right now i bet they probably will beat you . now i kno the reason no one pays any attention to you. aram was right. go find a job couch potato

  • hahaha

    Thanks for the breakdown Ainsworth’s dad……er I mean Honesty and Evaluation.

  • MONROVIA HAMMER

    Can anyone catch us up on the Monrovia scrimmage last week. I missed this. I wanted to know how many TDs were Scored by our R Backs.Did someone get some film for
    You Tube?