LAFAYETTE -- It was a back-and-forth affair between Class 4A's top-ranked Monarch and No. 2 Montrose on Friday night. Ultimately, Montrose escaped with the upset win.
Monarch, which headed this week's CHSAANow.com football poll in 4A, dominated the first half only to see the second-ranked Indians come roaring back in the second to win and break the defending 4A state champion’s 15-game winning streak 39-34 at Warrior Field in Lafayette.
Battling wet weather leading up to and throughout the game, the visiting Indians remain unbeaten at 6-0, while Monarch falls to 3-1.
It would be a fair statement to say that the Coyotes dominated the first half, taking a 21-6 lead into the locker room. Monarch jumped out to a 21-0 lead, starting at 7:10 in the first when quarterback Jay McIntyre hit tight end Paden Padula with a seven-yard pass. Patrick Nasiatka’s point after kick made it 7-0.
Monarch scored again at 9:57 in the second on an Ethan Marks four-yard run. Nasiatka’s PAT made it 14-0. Another stop by the Coyote defense gave Monarch’s offense another shot and Kidd Soole’s 55-yard run up the middle, along with the Nasiatka PAT, put the home team up 21-0 at the 7:40 mark in the second frame.
Montrose finally got on the board with just 1:28 left in the second quarter when quarterback Kameron DeVincentis hit wide receiver Peter Shearer with a 10-yard pass. Monarch blocked the extra point attempt and went into the locker room up 21-6.
On its first possession of the third quarter, Montrose started chipping away at the Monarch defense until senior Angelo Youngren ripped off a 57-yard run for a score. For the second time in the game, the Montrose PAT attempt was blocked, so the Indians trailed 21-12.
The teams traded possessions until with just under four minutes in the quarter, Montrose mounted a drive from its own 20 and moved down the field until Youngren slipped away from the Cotyote defense for a 30-yard touchdown run. The Indians’ two-point conversation try was stopped short, so with 2:16, Monarch held a 21-18 lead. That lasted all of 16 seconds, when, after the kickoff, Monarch held a one-play 70-yard drive, with Braden Pape taking a McIntyre hand off straight up the middle of the field for a touchdown. Nasiatka’s PAT gave Monarch a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 28-18.
Montrose responded with a long drive and Mike Rocha capped it off with an eight-yard run at 10:04. Luca Ruiz-Diaz added the extra point and the Indians were within three at 28-25. Montrose coach Rodd Casebier called an onsides kick and the Indians covered the attempt, giving them a shot at taking the lead. After a couple of first downs, Rocha burst off right side for 31 yards and Ruiz-Diaz added the PAT giving Montrose a 32-28 lead, its first of the game.
Monarch responded with a 63-yard drive capped by a touchdown when Marks caught a 16-yard strike from McIntyre to lift the Coyotes back in front 34-32 after a missed PAT.
The Indians got the ball back with 3:46 remaining and the ball its own 34. Youngren, Rocha and DeVientis and the Montrose rushing game took over. The Indians rode the slashing style running of Youngren, along with the power of Rocha to move down the field, taking time off the clock until Youngren rolled of right side for a one yard score at the 37.4 mark. Ruiz-Diaz hit the PAT and Montrose led 39-34.
Monarch was not going to give up its unbeaten streak that easily. After a short kickoff and the ball on its own 45, the Coyotes completed a 24-yard pass from McIntyre to Sam Lehman. Poised on the Indians 39, McIntyre saw his first attempt fall just out of reach of his receiver off the left side. On second down, Soole broke open over the middle but the pass fell just short at the goal line. Another incompletion to make it fourth down with 13.9 seconds left, McIntyre went back to pass, evaded several Montrose defenders, before hitting Marks with a 21-yard pass. Unfortunately, several linemen had headed downfield prior to the pass and the play was called back.
After the penalty and with just 0.3 seconds left, McIntyre fired off a Hail Mary that was knocked away in the end zone, ending the game and giving Montrose the upset win.
There were a number of heroes on both sides of the ball. For the Indians, Youngren had 220 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns. He was limited to 45 yards in the first half but exploded to lead Montrose in the second. Rocha added 110 yards and a score on 20 carries, while DeVicentis had 17 yards on five carries, Nick Foster had 21 on a pair of totes and Shearer added another six yards on the ground.
DeVincentis was just two of seven passing for 20 yards, but one was the touchdown to Shearer who also caught his second completion.
For the home team, Marks ran for 140 yards on 26 carries, Soole added 122 yards on 14 carries and McIntyre ran 14 times for 64 yards. Pape ran for 82 yards on four carries. Marks, Soole and Pape all scored a TD rushing.
McIntyre was five of nine passing for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Padula caught two passes for 17 yards, CT Wristen one pass for nine, Marks one for nine and Lehman one for 24 yards. Padula and Marks both had scoring catches.
For the coaches, Casebier now has a 65-32 career coaching record, while Monarch head coach Phil Bravo is 138-17.