LAFAYETTE -- Monarch hasn’t scored less than 39 points in a football game. They’ve averaged 48 points per match up in 2013. However, defense played the biggest factor in their quarterfinal win against Loveland.
“Defense was the key today,” coach Phil Bravo said. “This is a high-scoring team, we put up a lot of points, but our defense and special teams played a larger role tonight.”
The No. 2 Monarch football team punched its ticket to the state semifinals with a 42-8 win over No. 7 Loveland on Friday at Centaurus High School.
Running back Ethan Marks opened-up the scoring for Monarch on a 34-yard rushing touchdown up the middle with around eight minutes left in the first quarter. Loveland had an impressive opening drive down the field, converting two third and longs thanks to the legs of quarterback Mike Zweigel. Zweigel’s 18 and 20 yds runs got Loveland down to the five. After four tries, Loveland turned the ball over on downs at the one-yard-line with four minutes left in the first quarter.
“(The stop) was the tone-setter for our game,” Bravo said. “They got two huge third down conversions on the drive -- one was third and fourteen. They came down to the 5-yard-line and we stopped them from about an inch from the goal-line.”
After getting the ball back, the Monarch used a mix of runs from quarterback Jay MacIntyre and Marks to get the ball to the 36. The second play of the second quarter saw Marks getting a pitch to the right from MacIntyre, and he virtually went untouched for a touchdown. Monarch scored another touchdown with 5:04 left in the half off a quarterback-keeper from MacIntyre to the left side from six. At half, Monarch was up 21-0.
MacIntyre added another rushing touchdown in the third quarter from 11 yards out with 9:05 remaining. The quarterback also played on defense in place of injured defensive back Kidd Soole on Friday. On Loveland’s ensuing drive, MacIntyre got an interception at the 42.
With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Monarch drew up another touchdown play for Marks. Marks got a direct-snap at the 32 and took it to the house for his third touchdown of the game. Loveland fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Monarch got the ball back on Loveland’s 9. After getting to the goal line, Marks pushed in a one yard touchdown.
“Ethan comes out every week and gets four or five touchdown,” MacIntyre said. “I don’t know how he does it -- he gets hit so hard with all his speed right into the linebackers.”
Loveland finally got a score on a 45-yard bomb from Zweigle to John Freismuth. The Indians then got their two-point conversion on a run from Mitchell Wheelock.
Monarch will host Pine Creek in their semifinal matchup on Nov. 22 for the rights to the state championship game.
“I’m glad we have three home games. During the regular season we only had four, and I only have four Monarch home games in my career,” MacIntyre said.