By Aram Tolegian, staff writer
While El Monte’s high-flying offense and all-everything quarterback Brandon Martinez have gotten all the headlines this season, nobody can fault the South El Monte defense if it’s feeling a little slighted heading into Thursday’s Mission Valley League showdown against the Lions.
The Eagles are allowing a miserly 9.2 points per game and it’s that defense that has them in position to be league champs and prevent a major celebration by their arch-rival.
“Come Thursday, it’s going to be the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 1 defense and I guess we’ll find out if defense really does win championships,” second-year South El Monte head coach Ibis Aguilar said.
“I believe in our defense and I think we have the ability to stop the El Monte offense.”
If El Monte does win its first league title since 1979, most attributes will go to Martinez and the Lions’ breakneck offense, which is averaging 41.5 points per game this season. But one thing giving South El Monte fans hope is that last year’s game was a 20-13 win for El Monte and the winning score came not from Martinez and the offense but the Lions defense, which returned an interception for a touchdown.
“We were up in the fourth quarter and that last touchdown for them to win it was when their linebacker took a pick back to the house,” Aguilar said.
“It was a defensive score.”