If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?
Ge Vontray Ainsworth didn’t transfer from Covina High School to Monrovia to get a shot at a CIF-Southern Section title, but it may work out that way.
Ainsworth, who came to the Wildcats after his family moved into the area from Covina, has been a key contributor for the Wildcats, who look to win their third consecutive Mid-Valley Division title when they host Paraclete on Friday at 7 p.m.
“I’m happy that we even made it this far,” said Ainsworth, who was on the losing side last season when Monrovia beat Covina in the semifinals. “I’m going to be happy if we win it.
“It will be my first ring, and I’ll be able to say I have one.”
Ainsworth, who rushed for 1,464 yards and nine touchdowns for Covina last season, has 1,155 yards and 14 scores for the Wildcats.
He’s also been a dominant force on defense, where he leads the Wildcats with 14 1/2 sacks, including four last week to help Monrovia advance to the finals with a 42-31 victory over Sierra Canyon.
“He’s physical on defense,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “He might be better on defense than he is running the football. He’s an all-around, exceptional football player.
“He does what we ask him to. That might be the best part of what he does. He came (here from Covina), and you’re always worried about how a guy will fit in. But he’s been a coach’s dream. He will do whatever it takes for
this team to win.
“He’s not an `I’ guy. It’s about how many times he carries the ball. That’s just the type of young man he is, and as a coach those are the types of young men you want to build your team around.”
Ainsworth has been an important addition to a high-powered offense that also features quarterback Blake Heyworth, who has thrown for 2,077 yards and 22 touchdowns, and running backs Darione Jones and George Frazier V.
All three backs bring different styles. Jones, who has rushed for 798 yards and 10 touchdowns, is the speed guy. Frazier, who rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns on five carries last week, is pure power.
Ainsworth is a mixture of both.
“We’ve been running the ball well,” Ainsworth said. “I like to run the ball and I like to share it. As long as I get my part and we win as a team, I’m happy.”
The transition from Covina to Monrovia and a new offense went relatively smoothly for Ainsworth, who was an instant fit with his new teammates.
“I had played with most of the guys already,” he said. “They welcomed me because they knew me and how I play.”
The senior has stepped up his game during the postseason in helping Monrovia rush for 733 yards the past three weeks in wins over Viewpoint (50-0), South El Monte (43-6) and Sierra Canyon.
Ainsworth has rushed for 359 yards in the three wins, including 90 yards and a touchdown last week.
He hopes to keep it going against Paraclete, which has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 most of the season and is the division’s top-seeded team. The Spirits (12-1) also are ranked No. 1 in South Region Division III by Cal-Hi Sports.
Maddox is glad he has Ainsworth on his side.
“When we played (Covina) last year, a big focus of our game plan was taking him away,” Maddox said. “We saw and knew what he was capable of.
“But like I said, he’s been a really pleasant surprise. We knew he was a good athlete, but we had no idea the type of defense player he was going to be, and just how he is as a team guy.”