By David Dickens
December 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Monte Vista (7-6) was expected to cruise through this Division 4 rematch on December 8th against the Sweetwater High Red Devils (9-4) for the SDCIF crown. However, just like the age-old saying, “On any given Sunday,” this time the whims of fate kicked in on Saturday. Playoffs at any level discount regular season play as a whole new atmosphere. The ironic stat in this battle: not a single pass was thrown in the Monarch triumph early in the regular season play; this time it was the pass that stole the game.
The Monarch strength all season long was the elite rushing attack led by running back Jermeil Jackson. This time around Monte Vista was stymied for a mere 186 yards – all rushing – and only amassed 31 yards total the entire second half of play. This hard-fought contest was full of turnovers and miscues on both sides. The slippery weather added to the ball security issues as well.
Monte Vista came into this game 7-5 on the season. Sweetwater’s record was 8-4. Monte Vista and Sweetwater teams both started their regular season play slow, but started to heat up at the right time. The Monarchs had the heart and desire to take home their first Championship since losing to Helix 20-3 in 2003, a complete opposite outcome from their previous meeting with the Red Devils, a thumping 34-3.
The Monarchs were shutout this time 7-0, the lowest scoring affair in San Diego CIF history.
What ultimately led to the Monarch loss was turnover number three that ended the game. Another key to Monte Vista’s success this year was ball security.
Heading into the fourth quarter there was still no score, and with two high-powered running attacks being stymied, something had to give. Some trickery would be necessary.
On third down and inches from the 15-yard line, running back Raven Middleton received a quick pitch. But instead of powering up the middle, he lobbed a 15-yard pass to wingback Antonio Garcia: touchdown for Sweetwater with little time left. This would seal the deal, and end a 29-year drought for the Sweetwater Red Devils.
The Monarch leaders were held in check. Running back Jermeil Jackson finished the evening with a season low 17 carries for 64 yards, and his partner in crime, quarterback Thomas Walker, had five rushes for an astounding 54 yards.
The Monarchs fought hard all season long and had many accomplishments, both defensively and offensively. With Coach Ron Hamamoto at the helms, Monte Vista will be a threat for many years to come.