East County Sports

Monarchs can’t hold on to title ticket

Monte Vista's ELSHADDAI LEVI is about to break off the pile for a long TD run. / photo by Patrick Takk - OCSidelines

Monte Vista wraps up a Katella ball carrier Saturday night in Anaheim. / photo by Patrick Takk – OCSidelines




EastCountySports.com staff report


ANAHEIM – The Monte Vista Monarchs may have been thinking what it was going to be like hosting the CIF State Division 5-A championship on its home field next week as they held 35-7 on the host Katella Knights early in the third quarter on Saturday night.

JAHMON MCCLENDON rushes for Monte Vista Saturday night. / photo by Patrick Takk – OCSidelines

After all, what could go wrong? The Monarchs have practically been perfect this postseason.

In the second half, however, the San Diego CIF Division 4 champs made some costly mistakes at critical moments, as Katella High, of Anaheim, stormed back to win the Southern California regional title, 36-35, at Glover Stadium.

Instead of Monte Vista hosting Fortuna, the Knights will have the state division title game on their home field.

Although the Monarchs will return a pretty loaded team next season, this was one opportunity that you just couldn’t afford to let slip away.

And the way it unfolded made it even more painful.

“Tonight was tough when you are up 35-7 and you lose,” Monte Vista coach RON HAMAMOTO said. “We have a really young team and we’ve made these kind of mistakes before. It just seems like when we get a big lead, our kids relax and we can’t put people away. It happened before and it happened to us again tonight.”

Katella went 68 yards in 10 plays on its initial drive, as quarterback Nathan Arrington took it in from the 12 yards out for a 7-0 lead.

Monte Vista scored a touchdown with 5:12 left in the opening quarter on a run from junior JAHMON MCCLENDON.

Then, the Monarchs secondary stayed red hot, as McClendon had a 91-yard pick-six to take a 14-7 lead.

Monte Vista’s defensive backs have been making big plays throughout the season, but particularly in the playoffs.

A big third down stop for the Monarchs forced Katella punt with the Monarchs leading 14-7 at the start second quarter.

Monte Vista completed long drive with a 2-yard TD run by McClendon. Monte Vista led 21-7 with 5:22 remaining in 2nd quarter.

After McClendon forced a fumbled on a Katella reception which was recovered by TORREY MACK, who broke a couple tackles and returned the ball 25 yards to the Katella 25.

Two plays later, McClendon rushed 21 yards for a TD.

Monte Vista led 28-7 with four minutes remaining in 2nd quarter.

McClendon had 139 yards on 27 carries for the evening.

Monte Vista’s E. J. HENDERSON had another interception late in the first half with :48 left.

The Monarchs’ ELSHADDAI LEVI seemed to really break it open at 35-7 scored on a 60-yard run on the second play of the second half.

Monte Vista imploded, however, from that point in the second half.

Katella came back from 35-7 with a pair of touchdowns in each of the last two quarters.

After it seemed another turnover really switched the momentum, the Monarchs seemed to get it back on a recovery in the fourth.

With 3:15 left, the Knights took over at the MV 32 after the Monarchs failed on a fourth-and-11 attempt.

Monte Vista converges on a Katella ball carrier. / photo by Patrick Takk – OCSidelines

Katella (14-1) had a huge 57-yard catch-and-run from Isaac Anderson down to the 5.

Moments later, Andrew Pisani scored on a 1-yard TD run.

Pisani also ran in the two-point conversion for the one-point lead.

Monte Vista still had 1:53 left on the clock with one time out, but opted for four pass plays, all of which were unsuccessful.

The final play resulted in an interception by a charging lineman.



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