Monrovia fans were excited for Friday’s game against South Hills, as it marked the return of their star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who missed the last week’s game with a knee injury.
Unfortunately, McCarthy was kept in check by the big South Hills offensive line as Monrovia fell just short, losing 34-30.
“South Hills is a very good team,” said coach Ryan Maddox. “Ellis is a phenomenal player, but he has to get back into game shape. With the knee injury, he hasn’t run in a couple weeks. Once he gets back to his full strength, he will be dangerous.”
South Hills set the tone for the game, taking the ball on its first possession from the 20-yard line and driving 80 yards for the first score of the game. The touchdown put the Wildcats in an early hole, but it didn’t take them long to respond.
On the next possession, Monrovia tied things as it got a 51-yard touchdown from senior De’Shawn Ramirez, who made an impressive one-handed catch in stride.
“We had to make them respect the deep ball. If they walked up to the line, we were looking to throw it, and we succeeded a couple times indoing that,” said Maddox.
Star linebacker George Frazier took the reins at quarterback for a possession, and led the team on an impressive drive that ended with a Frazier sneak to put his team up 14-7.
The Wildcats didn’t hold the momentum for very long, as Jamie Canada took the ensuing kickoff the distance for a South Hills touchdown. The extra point was blocked, and Monrovia still held the lead, 14-13.
The Monrovia offense stalled to end the first half, and South Hills tacked on another touchdown, taking a 20-14 lead into the half.
Monrovia had a great start to the second half, picking off the first South Hills pass and returned it to the 27. The Wildcats kicked a field goal, cutting the gap to 20-17. Later junior receiver Anthony Craft got behind the South Hills defense on a broken coverage, and junior quarterback Blake Heyworth found him for an easy touchdown that gave his team a 24-20 lead.
From this point, the South Hills run game took over. Husky running back Jamel Hart began running wild, leading his team to a touchdown to start the fourth quarter. After a three and out by Monrovia, Hart did it again, this time punching it in from four yards out, and just like that, South Hills held a 34-24 lead.
“Plain and simply: they ran all over us in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t’ stop them as hard as we tried. That’s what good teams like this will do to you they make you pay with their best stuff,” said Maddox.
Monrovia mustered up one more drive, but fell short on 4th and 1 on the seven. After the defense forced a three and out, Monrovia had one more play in the game, and they made it count. Heyworth tacked on one more touchdown, this time hooking up with Luke Williams to end the game. Monrovia fell just short, losing 34-30.
“It would have been great to win this game obviously, but the fact that we are improving every week is a positive for me. This is a great team, and you play teams like this to get better before league,” said Maddox after the game.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-3 on the year, and they have one more preseason game before the league starts. That game is next Friday at 7 pm at Paramount high school.