Shadron Wenta takes control of the ball after a handoff from quarterback Michael Sanchez. Wenta averaged 7.7 yards per carry; 153 yards on 20 carries, while Sanchez logged 108 yards on 11 carries
MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista Pirates had little trouble stopping the Crowley County Chargers on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan Field as the Pirates won their first playoff game in 10 years with a 50-7 mercy rule win.
The Pirates, whose last playoff win came in 2002 when they beat Roaring Fork 34-12, played with complete domination on both sides of the ball.
They will travel to Cedaredge High School next Saturday to play the Bruins who are fresh off a 55-14 win over the Centauri Falcons. Both teams have identical 9-1 season records.
“That has been the goal all along, before I got here,” said Monte Vista Head Coach Greg Jones. “We knew we were going to be decent, but we wanted to get that first playoff win. We just look forward to being in the second round, we know Cederedge is a good and physical team, we can get after them and see what happens.”
The Pirates had little resistance with their rushing attempts on Saturday because they tallied 474 total yards, 439 of which came on the ground. Pirate senior running back Shadron Wenta led the pack by averaging 7.7 yards per carry, 153 yards on 20 carries.
“It feels great,” said Wenta after the win. “I have to give credit to my offensive line because, without them, I wouldn’t get anything. I’m looking for a victory, I hope we win next week.”
Junior quarterback Michael Sanchez was right behind him with 108 yards on 11 carries (9.2 ypc), while senior running back Hansel Garcia had 17 rushing attempts for 106 yards (6.2 ypc).
Sophomore running back Jacob Vance (six carries for 61 yards, 10.2 ypc), freshman running back Presley Garcia (two carries for 17 yards, 8.5 ypc), freshman running back Michael Valdez (one carry for six yards) and junior running back Mitch Vanderpool (one carry for five yards) all contributed to the ground attack.
Sanchez was only 1-for-2 on passing attempts during the whole game with senior tight end Garett Pacheco on the receiving end with a 35-yard touchdown strike.
Jones noted, “These kids came out and showed that they were ready and they got after it from the start.”
The Chargers were only able to get 133 yards on the day, 52 on the ground and 81 in the air.
Crowley County sophomore quarterback Herman Ross was 10-for-19 pass attempts to get his 81 yards.
His favorite target was junior wide receiver Nathan Baylor, who made four catches for 81 yards (20.2 ypc).
Junior wide receiver Ryane Haynes collected three catches while freshman wide receiver Bryce Buhr and senior running back Dustin Stalder each made a catch. They all totaled a combined 14 yards.
The best rusher for the Crowley County was Stalder, who had four carries for 21 yards, (5.3 ypc).
The other big factor in the game was the fact that the Pirates had four takeaways, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions, the Chargers only had one fumble recovery.
In the beginning, the game looked as if it would a rocky game for both teams.
The Chargers had a quick 3-and-out and were forced to punt the ball away. Cooper, the Pirate return man, made a clean pick up and was looking for a lane to race down the far sideline.
As he was attempting to race around a defender, the defender was able to get a hand in and knock the ball loose. Luckily for the Pirates, Cooper was able to hop on the ball after several bounces.
Six plays and 40 yards later, Wenta found the end zone as he raced 9 yards for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead after the extra point kick was successful. Again the Chargers were forced to punt the ball and the Pirates only needed two plays to score the next touchdown. A 40-yard rush set Sanchez up for a quarterback keeper of 5 yards for the touchdown and the 14-0 lead.
A turnover on downs by the Chargers again gave the ball to the Pirates in striking position. Several Charger fans were attempting to give the defense tips and as soon as one fan yelled, "All they are going to do is run!" the Pirates went to the air. Sanchez rolled into the flat and found a wide open Pacheco for a 35-yard touchdown pass to hush the crowd. The first quarter ended with Monte Vista up 21-0 .
A fumble by Monte Vista gave the ball to the Chargers in relatively good position where they turned to the no-huddle offense, which backfired on them as a lofted pass that was anyone›s ball was gathered in by defensive back Hansel Garcia.
The Pirates marched down the field and, after nine plays and 74 yards, Wenta scored his second touchdown, this time a 2-yard scamper.
Crowley County finally broke through and scored their only touchdown with 58 seconds remaining. An 11-play drive that covered 60 yards was capped off when Ross connected on junior wide receiver Ryan Haynes for a 7-yard touchdown. The halftime score was Monte Vista 28, Crowley County 7.
The second half was dominated by the Pirates, because the first drive was 10 plays long and was capped off by a 7-yard scamper by Sanchez. The extra point kick attempt turned into an impromptu 2-point conversion. A botched snap forced the holder to gather it in and he raced around trying to find a play. He was able to keep the play alive until he found a receiver open in the corner of the end zone to make the score 36-7.
The Charger›s first play from the line of scrimmage was an uncontested pass to defensive back Cooper for the interception. After eight plays, the Pirates fumbled the ball at the 5-yard line, only to get the ball back after a punt. Vance made an impact as he broke loose on the drive for a 38-yard touchdown to make the score 43-7.
Cooper made a fumble recovery before Sanchez made a 15-yard rushing touchdown to move the game into a mercy-rule running clock rules.