‘Survive and advance’
No. 3 Monache holds off No. 6 North in OT
From the start of the season third-seeded Monache High School (7-4, 2-3 EYL) has given their all, and once again they were rewarded with a 48-45 overtime victory over the sixth-seeded Stars of Bakersfield’s North (7-5) in Thursday’s CIF Central Section Division IV quarterfinal game at Jacob Rankin Stadium.
On the backs of their young offensive line, their junior wide receiving corp and junior running back Aidan Galvan — while being led by senior quarterback Antonio Andrade — the Marauders fought their way back from what was once a 12-point deficit.
Monache started their comeback in the second half but it was the fourth quarter where things heated up. In the final two minutes, the Marauders got the ball on their own 20-yard line but with the help of a targeting call on the Stars and two big runs for first downs from Andrade; Monache reached North’s 3-yard line where Galvan ran the ball in for a touchdown and Omar Me-
za’s extra point essentially sent the game into overtime with the score tied at 42-all.
“That overtime I just prayed right there,” Andrade said. “I just kneeled down at the 50-yard line and I just told God to clear my mind and let me stay focused. And He did it. I’m really blessed for this.”
North got the ball first on the 25-yard line, but after one 15-yard run by Chris Romero they were forced to kick a 28-yard field goal.
In position to win the game with a touchdown, trusty running back Galvan got the ball on the first play but was smothered at the 21-yard line. From there, Andrade dropped back and threw to junior Tori Powell but his throw fell short. On third down, Andrade once again dropped back, but this time he was chased from the left. Shaking that defender and staying to his left, Andrade launched an off-balanced throw to Powell in the back of the end zone.
“The last scramble right there, I seen a guy coming at me so I just took off,” Andrade said. “I seen Tori wide open in the middle of the end zone so I just, I just threw it up to him and let him do what he does. And he did it. And we won.”
After checking to make sure the touchdown stood after a penalty flag was thrown, second-year head coach Chris Frankland said he was ready to celebrate just like his players as they swarmed Powell in the end zone.
“That was the first thing, trying to be the adult in the room, and then in a split second turning into a 15-year-old, 16-year-old wanting to jump on the pile and do snow angels in the end zone or something because I was so excited for the kids,” Frankland said.
Andrade finished with 214-yards and three touchdowns on 14 of 27 completions and one interception. Powell, Marcus Salazar and Trayvon Bradford each had a receiving touchdown while Bradford led them with 117 yards on seven receptions. Galvan was a workhorse with 234 yards and four touchdowns on 34 carries. Meza converted four extra points and Galvan was one for two on runs for two-point conversions.
“We become a really dangerous team if you can’t defend Aidan with the guys that you need too, and you can’t defend our receiving corp,” Frankland said. “I think that makes a us a tough team to (get) out in the playoffs.”
The first half was frustrating for Monache with North scoring two touchdowns back-to-back before Galvan could score on a 40-yard run before the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Marauders were able to outscore North 1310 on 3-yard and 9-yard runs from Galvan and cut North’s lead to 22-20 at the half.
“I think one of the things is you have to be honest with who you are, and we just physically did not match up with them defensively,” Frankland said. “When you put a 205-pound kid against a 305-pound kid, no matter what kind of coaching, no matter what kind of defensive scheme — that’s a 100 pounds. And that’s a lot in football.”
Frankland added, “We’ll go back and revisit it, and watch the film and fix the things we need to fix but you also look at (defensive lineman Salvador) Garcia, who had a monster game. Jackson Tuese who is undersized versus that line that we played, but just played tough inside.”
A momentum changing stop for Monache came on the first drive of the second half when they forced North to kick a field goal from the Marauders’ 13-yard line on fourth down and it missed wide right. On the next drive Monache took their first lead on a 7-yard touchdown pass to Bradford and Galvan converting for two.
Monache made the adjustments necessary to keep them in the game and their special teams did well by stopping a two-point conversion and sophomore Julian Rowe blocking a PAT.
From the fourth quarter on, it was like watching the Marauders passing game develop and grow right before one’s eyes as players who had dropped balls or stopped short on routes earlier in the game made the big plays.
One of those players was, Salazar, who had dropped his first target of the game and been hit hard repeatedly by North defenders. He had a redeeming moment in the fourth quarter when he scored a touchdown on a 9-yard reception by extending his arm and the ball over the goal line as Stars players collapsed on him.
“Antonio is starting to get in rhythm with them and it’s fun to watch them mature,” Frankland said. “It’s something that we have to do. If they’re not in rhythm and they’re not getting better than our seasons done last night.
“They made plays when it mattered and we escaped,” Frankland said. “We say, ‘Survive and advance’, and that’s what last night was about for us.”
The win feels good for the Marauders but they’re remaining level-headed as they head into their first semifinal game in over 10 years. Monache travels to second-seeded Central Valley Christian (9-2), on Friday, Nov. 16.
“It means a lot (to advance) but we just got to stay focused,” Andrade said. “We can’t get too big headed over this win. We just got to concentrate on CVC. They’re next.”
Monache High School’s Aidan Galvan, right, rushes to score a touchdown Thursday, Nov. 8, during the first half of a quarterfinal game against North High School in the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs at Jacob Rankin Stadium in Porterville.
Monache High School’s Salvador Garcia tackles a North High School runner Thursday, Nov. 8, during the first half of a quarterfinal game of the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs at Jacob Rankin Stadium in Porterville.