East County Sports

Cougars grind out win over Monarchs

Steele Canyon's Spencer Campillo wraps up a Monarch. / P.J. Panebianco


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EastCountySports.com staff report


SPRING VALLEY – The Steele Canyon Cougars and Monte Vista Monarchs would figure to be an every-year matchup considering the success that both programs have had over the recent years.

While the Cougars are a club that currently flirts with the county’s top teams, the Monarchs, albeit a much smaller unit, have the style and consistency to give their Spring Valley neighbors a good test.

And that was the case on Friday night as Steele Canyon finally put away Monte Vista, 27-18, on the Monarchs’ Homecoming night.

This matchup was made when the Cougars asked the Monarchs, who had already started turning in their gear after Mount Miguel had to back out of the season finale, to take the game on rather short notice when Helix was able to pick up a date with the ranked La Jolla Vikings. Both Steele Canyon and Helix were trying to avoid a second meeting in just a six-week season.

Sophomore Major Givens rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Cougars, who finished 3-3. The competitiveness of this one might encourage the programs to resume this obvious potential rivalry. The teams were meeting for the first time in six years and only after extenuating circumstances.

The Cougars, who proved to have the county’s best special teams again this season, returned a punt 48 yards to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter at the 6:35 mark.

A 48-yard punt return by Manny Lovering with 6:36 left in the first quarter caught the Monarchs overpursuing when Lovering was the up-man in a two-deep receiving formation that had a few downfield coverage men committing to the extra returner.

Steele Canyon returned two punts and a kickoff for scores during the six-week campaign.

Monte Vista scored on a field goal with 8:38 left in the first half as Brandon Deacy kicked a 20-yarder.

Givens had a 3-yard TD run with three minutes left in the first half, as Steele Canyon led 13-3 at halftime.

The Monarchs moved close to the goal again midway through the third quarter but ended up settling for another field goal by Deacy, this time from 25 yards away.

What happened early in the fourth quarter instantly changed the complexion of the game when Monte Vista took advantage of a Cougar miscue to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Steele Canyon looked to set up a screen pass on a 3rd-and-22 from their own 48 but Monte Vista junior Kevion Jones got his big paw in the way, deflecting the ball onto the ground.

When no whistle sounded, half the players had given up on the play even though a few players were still wrestling not only with each other but with what to do about the play as the ball bounded about.

That’s when Deacy came sprinting in to pick up the ignored pigskin and he raced into the end zone with just under 11 minutes left in the game, making the score 13-12.

Steele Canyon scored as Givins ran for a TD from 37 yards to make it 20-12 with 7:38 to go in the contest.

Deron Whitley danced for a touchdown from 9 yards out to make it 20-18 with 4:52 remaining in the game.

The two-point try failed when Steele Canyon batted down a pass attempt.

Leon Gillis had an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the deal in a fourth-and-long deep in the Monarch end.

The Monarchs, led by quarterback Jayson Mikha, passed for 127 yards in the game. The usually run-heavy Monarchs managed just 64 on the ground on 38 carries.

The teams finished nearly even in yards, 197-191, in favor of the Cougars.

Sophomore Keenu Pettiford led the Cougars with 12 total tackles (5 solo).

Junior Temo Rangel added 10 stops (4 solo) for the Cougar defense.

Junior Spencer Campillo had a team-high six solo tackles for Steele.

Senior Cannon Kanzius, sophomore Camrien Hunt, and Rangel all registered sacks for the Cougs.

Kanzius forced a fumble, which was recovered by senior teammate Caleb Kaiser.

Deacy also had an interception for the Monarchs.

Monarch football player Victor Meza was announced as the Homecoming King at halftime.


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