‘Sur­vive and ad­vance’

No. 3 Monache holds off No. 6 North in OT

Porterville Recorder - - SPORTS - By NAYIRAH DOSU ndosu@porter­villere­corder.com

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.”

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

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.

PHOTO BY RECORDER CHIEKO HARA

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.

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