East County Sports

Monarch win special for Dickens family

Monte Vista junior KENNY STEVENS scores a touchdown with one minute left in the fourth quarter Friday night. / photo by Ramon Scott




By Dave Dickens



SPRING VALLEY (11-17-2017) – As game preparations were completed and the clock was set for the first 12 minutes of football, the Monte Vista High public address announcer spoke of my late father, BILL DICKENS, and all the kind things he has done for the East County sports community.

As tears filled my eyes, I remembered, as I stood next to my 12-year old son, Bill’s grandson, I would walk these same sidelines with my father, chasing him down as he pushed his way through players and coaches to make sure every last yard was recorded correctly.

DAVID DICKENS, son of the late BILL DICKENS, and Bill’s grandson, work the game Friday night in Spring Valley.

It was surreal.

Thank you to all of the East County players old and new, parents, coaches and administrators alike.

Dad loved all of you and I see now you all loved him, thank you for allowing me to have the honor of continuing his legacy.

And thank you from my family to the Monte Vista Monarchs, who made the night even more special with a thrilling, 29-28, overtime victory over the visiting Chula Vista Spartans in the San Diego CIF Division 4 quarterfinals.

My dad would’ve talked about a game like this for months after.

The cool, actual fall-like temperatures really made you feel it must be time for the CIF quarterfinals.

Monte Vista would receive the rock first.

The first snap of the contest, a handoff from QB EMMIL HENDERSON to RB JAHMON MCCLENDON went for a 75-yard streak into the end zone for 6 with 11:50 to go in the first quarter of play.

The extra point was successful and it was 7-0 Monarchs just moments following that tribute to my father.

He would have enjoyed the fact that the crowd would quickly got into the excitement of the mood change and put the focus on the Monte Vista crew’s task at hand.

The visiting Spartans of Chula Vista were not pleased with the quick score, so they returned the favor on a lengthy, but effective drive, behind a physical offensive line and the bruising running of RB Kajahan Duncan.

With the extra point good the score would be a 7-7 tie midway through the 1st quarter.

The Monarchs would sustain a productive drive on their next possession with some impressive passing by Henderson, which was interesting considering Monte Vista typically is heavy run, and uses its lights out defense.

However this is the CIF quarterfinals, and Monte Vista coach RON HAMAMOTO would surely be scheming for his milestone 216th career victory.

Monte Vista players celebrate a touchdown in the final minute Friday night. / EastCountySports photo

The Spartans would sputter as the Monarch defense manhandled the Spartan line forcing a 3 and out.

With 6:09 left in the 1st quarter it would be another McClendon 4-yard bulldozing score up the middle and with an extra point to boot for the early lead, 14-7.

McClendon had two early TDs and was already over 100 yards, as it looked like the Monarchs would conquer the Spartans quite easily.

The Spartans thought otherwise.

Both squads played very physical defense, forcing many punts and a clock that was being chewed up rapidly by both squads.

Towards the expiration of the 1st half, Chula Vista put together a decent drive to score on a 6-yard TD run off left tackle, once again it was Duncan in for his 2nd score of the evening and an added extra point to tie the contest at 14-all at the half.

The Spartans came out in the second half firing.

They put together a long drive that ate up almost 3 minutes of the clock and was capped by another 13-yard rushing TD for Duncan.

The Spartans decided to go for 2, which ended up good, making it 22-14 Chula Vista with 9:16 left in the 3rd quarter.

It would seem as if the Monarchs were becoming somewhat fatigued.

Following the score, LB/RB LOGAN SCHMIDT had a beautiful kickoff return to put his squad in great field position.

The following play, the Monarchs coughed up the football but maintained possession.

Yet again, the next snap would be fumbled but recovered by McClendon.

As if things could not get any worse, the Monarchs, on 3rd and long, ran a reverse, but as Henderson tried to throw the football he was crushed, losing the rock, along with a flag, which resulted in a 4th and long that would require a punt.

Monte Vista junior JAHMON MCCLENDON stands tall after scoring a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. / photo by Ramon Scott

Monte Vista was shut out until the end of the 4th quarter.

After a long pass from Henderson to AMIR CONLEY, the Monarchs took it to the 1.

But the Spartan defense held after the Monarchs were unsuccessful after 4 tries.

It would now seem as if the Spartans might have this one wrapped up.

On 3rd down from the 17, the Spartans QB muffed the snap, and at last it was a break for the Monarchs as Schmidt recovered the rock, giving the Monarchs a 1st and 10 at the 17 of the Spartans.

With 3 incomplete passes the Monarchs were forced to kick a 22-yard field goal, but it would be short.

The Monarchs defense would force a Spartan 3-and-out with lights-out defense.

With a couple of spectacular runs by Henderson and a laser to Conley for a 1st down, this might be just what the doctor ordered.

However, two incompletions and a flag had the Monarchs in a key third-down situation in four-down territory.

On 3rd down, birthday-boy Henderson connected with RB KENNY STEVENS for a 25-yard TD, with the junior breaking tackles and diving into the end zone with a most-improbable of scores.

The Monarchs, of course, chose to go for 2 as McClendon bursts up the middle to tie the ballgame at 22 with 59 seconds left in regulation.

Monte Vista would add a sack and stop the Spartans at midfield as the 4th quarter came to an end.

Monte Vista would win the toss for overtime and start at the 20.

Monte Vista tries to tackle spartan back Kajahan Duncan Friday night. / EastCountySports photo

Three plays later, RB LEVI ELSHADAI scored on a 17-yard run.

The Monarchs chose to kick the extra point to make it 29-22 Monarchs.

The Spartans started at the 20 and three plays later another Duncan TD run brought the game to a precipice.

Chula Vista called time out, then elected to go for 2 to win the contest on the road.

The Monarch defense held with an awesome diving shoestring grab by junior BLAKE SCHMIDT to give the Monarchs the win over the impressive Spartans.

The Monarchs move on to rematch next Friday in the semifinals with the division top-seed University City Centurions, who defeated Serra, 42-0.


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