EC Preps






EL CAJON – This was a game that was being talked about all week long on both social media and amongst East County football fans. It was a game between two teams considered to be the top two contenders in the Division III playoffs. The billing didn’t disappoint.

In front of an electric crowd out at Valley Stadium on the campus of the Granite Hills, the crowd for both teams expected to see a lot of scoring. However, they were in for a defensive battle.

The Monarchs came in off a 42-9 thumping of the Patrick Henry Patriots while Christian a thumping of their own in a 48-7 victory over Santana. So something had to give.

The defenses for both teams came up big in the first quarter as neither team was able to get on the scoreboard. That changed right away in the second quarter as Jahmon McClendon took the handoff and bounced his way through the right side all the way to end zone for a 28-yard score to make it 7-0.

Jahmon McClendon Running

Christian wouldn’t go down easy as they answered with a score of their own jump-started by Christian Salacup fielding the kickoff and sprinting his way into Monarchs territory to their 20-yard line. The long kickoff return would be followed by a 16-yard catch and score by Alexander Gonzalez to tie things at 7-7.

Again both teams defenses took the stage and went back and forth until the final seconds of the first half when the Patriots pulled a play out of their tricks bag.

Owen Easley throws a pass

Owen Easley for the Patriots threw a backward screen pass to Justin Roehl who in turn was able to find Bryce Riepl inside the 10-yard line where he did the rest as he stretched out his arms for the score as he was draped by a Monarchs defender.

Both teams in the third quarter held each other offensively. It wasn’t until over a minute and a half remaining in the quarter that Monte Vista would convert a 4th-and 5 to keep their drive alive and under pressure, Kenny Stevens found McClendon for a short screen and did the rest as he trucked a PATS defender for the score which tied the game at 14-14.

Neither offense would garner anything and the game went into bonus play. ‘

The Monarchs would take a 21-14 lead as they scored on their first possession of overtime courtesy of Elshaddai Levi.

Christian wouldn’t go down without a fight and was able to move the ball down the field. They would work their way down to the Monarchs 22-yard line where Easley would find Gonzalez for the score to bring the Patriots within 21-20.

Now a big decision had to be made by Coach Oliver and the Patriots, do you kick the extra point and play another overtime or do you for two and the victory.

The decision had been made by Oliver and that was to go for two as the Patriots trotted out for the conversion. In a gutsy call Easley stepped back and pitched the ball to the right to Javier Jimenez who was able to find his way and rumble over Monarch defenders into the end zone for the game-winning conversion and started a wild celebration by Patriots players.

The call was gusty because all the Monarch coaches had expected Patriots coach Oliver to dial up a pass play.

On the night for the Monarchs, McClendon had his usual big yardage as he ran for 235 yards on 48 carries but the Patriots defense didn’t allow for any long touchdown runs.

For the Patriots, Easley finished the night with 115 yards on 10-of-24 passing with a couple of scores.

With the victory, Christian will presumably take over the top spot in Division III.

One thing is for sure is that both of these teams have a great chance to meet up again down the road in the Division III Playoffs.

Both teams have their byes next week.



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