East County Sports

Monarchs’ running stops Sultans’ run




EastCountySports.com staff report


ve touchdowns by senior running back Isiah Gardner, the Monte Vista Monarchs turned their entire season around with a 37-10 Grossmont Valley League victory over previously undefeated Santana on Homecoming Friday night.

The Sultans entered the game as one of the county’s top success stories this year, but now the Monarchs are in control of the Valley League as the only team that can win the title outright.

Monte Vista (4-4, 2-0 GVL) also improved its playoff probabilities in the Division II playoff picture.

“There was a lot of anticipation in the air with Homecoming so everyone was really excited,” Monte Vista senior Logan Schmidt said. “It was the last home game, possibly, and everyone wanted to make it worthwhile.

“What a story it would be if we could beat undefeated Santana on our Homecoming and get a chance to win the league title.”

Santana (7-1, 2-1 GVL) scored first on a 2-yard run by senior quarterback Nathan Temple.

“We went three-and-out and they just went down the field on us,” Schmidt said. “I was like, geez, I guess these guys are all that.”

Monte Vista knotted the game up a 7-all late in the first quarter with 25 seconds left on a 1-yard run by Gardner.

Garnder added his second touchdown of the first half in the second quarter.

The Monarchs also garnered a 31-yard field goal by Anthony Limon for a 17-7 halftime lead.

“I was still worried we were going to give up the lead,” Schmidt said. “Temple is a good quarterback. We got hits on him and he was still able to get most of his passes away. They had some big plays, but we were able to shut them down in the second half.”

Nathan Hughes, of Santana, kicked a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter shortly after the Sultans blocked a Monte Vista field goal attempt.

Gardner, who finished with 157 yards on 32 carries, scored three touchdowns in the second half. He had a 5-yard run with just under a minute remaining in the third quarter to make it 24-10. He ran 13 yards for a score with nine minutes to play, increasing the lead to 30-10. His final score came on a 2-yard run with two minutes to go in the contest.

“We were able to open up holes for (Gardner),” Schmidt said. “Isaiah is having a great year. Our offensive line, Jesse Schroeder, Aaron Bustos, Brandon Narvaez, Emmanual Zamudio, Sebastian Valdez, and Jared Reinholdt, just kept the ball rolling.”

Monte Vista senior Frederico Villanueva had two interceptions, both of which resulted in points by the offense.

“We didn’t pass the ball,” Schmidt said. “It was pretty much two-power-left the whole night with some quarterback keepers mixed in.”

Manny Levi helped lead the defense upfront for the Monarchs.

“Monte Vista does a great job of keeping the ball out of the other team’s hands,” Santana head coach Tim Estes said. “We turned the ball over a few times and gave up a couple of short fields. The wheels just kind of came off at the end.”

The Monarchs can win the league championship with wins back-to-back road wins at El Cajon Valley and West Hills.

The Sultans will need to win their final league game against El Cajon Valley and would need West Hills to defeat Monte Vista on the final night of the season.

The latter result would create a tri-championship in the Grossmont Hills League between the Monarchs, Sultans and Wolf Pack.

Until then, it’s like the Monte Vista Monarchs, the defending Grossmont Valley League champions, never went anywhere.

“They just grind and grind and grind,” Estes said of the Monarchs. “They are underestimated in terms of personnel. They have some talented kids on their team.”


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