Monte Vista logs big win on
MONTE VISTA — Sullivan Field played host to the high stakes, 1A Southern Peaks championship matchup between the Centauri Falcons and the Monte Vista Pirates Friday night with the Pirates taking the championship in a 21-6 game.
Each of these teams came into this game with a 7-1 record, and 4-0 league record.
These two squads not only had the same record, but they were very similar because each of the teams are known for their rushing attacks.
The Falcons were ranked No. 9 in Class 1A and the Pirates were ranked No. 8 going in.
As darkness fell and those Friday night lights went on, the temperature began to drop very quickly.
The first half was a knock-down, drag-out, defensive battle. The first two possessions from the squads turned into quick punts.
After a long run by senior Austin Velasquez, the Falcons fumbled the ball, and the Pirates fell on it.
This Monte Vista drive was shaping up nicely with Shadron Wenta running hard.
The Centauri defense would have none of it, sacking Michael Sanchez and forcing a fumble.
Then the ball was back in the Pirates’ hands for a fresh set of downs.
Again, defense was the key as the Falcons could not move the ball, and were forced to punt.
Ending the first quarter, it was not surprising to see another punt. The Falcons went three-and-out to end the first quarter.
The second quarter was nearly the same, with a little twist at the end.
Monte Vista seemed to be driving nicely until the Centauri defense held strong to force the fifth punt of the ball game.
This stop got the offense going, as the Falcons were moving the ball down the field.
It all changed once they got to the Monte Vista 35-yard line. The Pirates forced the Falcons into going for it on fourth down, but they would not convert.
In an instan, the Monte Vista Pirates fumbled the ball, and the Falcons had it in Monte territory.
On the next drive, Centauri gave it right back, fumbling with three minutes left, making it a hard hitting defensive battle.
After two more punts from each team, the Pirates had the ball in Falcon territory with 19 seconds left.
After penalties hit both teams, the ball was at the 15-yard line with five ticks on the clock.
The Pirates went for a touchdown on a play with .9 second left. Camillo Atehortua came on the field to kick a 23-yard field goal for the lead. The ball was just left, hitting the post and leaving the game scoreless at halftime.
The Pirates came out of the lockers with fire in their eyes. Sanchez and his receiving core of Jeff Cooper and Mitch Vanderpool were on a roll, completing two passes worth nearly 30 yards.
Austin Valdez had none of it, and sacked Sanchez to force another punt. Valdez’ sack was a useful one, as the ensuing drive led to the first score of the ball game. K.C. Jarves launched a pass to Clay McCarroll that he would take to the promise land. McCarroll used his speed and made it a 6-0 ball game. The Centauri 2-point conversion was not successful.
The next Pirate drive started off strong with a 19-yard reception to Vanderpool, and a 7-yard reception to Cooper.
The final plays in the red zone were all on that Monte line and Vanderpool, who ran in a 1-yard touchdown to tie the ball game at six.
Atehortua gave them a 7-6 lead with his successful PAT.
The next few plays were a changing point in this ball game.
Jarvies moved around the line to throw a short pass to his intended receiver, but Hansel Garcia came out of nowhere, intercepting it.
No one would catch him as he took it to the house. The scoreboard now said 14-6 in Monte’s favor, after the PAT by Atehortua.
With 8:00 on the clock, it was 4th-and-7 on the 50-yard line, speedy McCarroll zipped across the middle, wide open for a deep pass from Jarvies. It looked as if McCarroll had himself a touchdown, until Monte linebacker Austin Vance sprinted behind him and stripped the ball at the one-yard line.
The ball rolled into the end zone until Wenta picked it up to run it 28 yards back.
With 6:10 left, Sanchez sprinted around the left side of the line and down the sideline. His speed sealed the deal for a 51-yard run to make the score 21-6 after the PAT by Atehortua.
The Falcons had possession of the ball the final time, slowly driving down the field. The Falcons had many injuries on this drive, including quarterback Jarvies.
With less than a minute left, Monte Vista took two kneel downs to clinch a home playoff berth and a third consecutive Southern Peaks title. The final score said 21-6.
After the game Monte Vista Head Coach Greg Jones said, “Well, I think the turning point for us was getting on the scoreboard. When we scored, it gave our defense some confidence.”
Last year, the Pirates lost to Resurrection Christian in the first round at home, 35-28. Jones said, "I think we expected to be here again this year. We really need to prepare for this next week. We need to win a playoff game."
The Pirates finished the season with an 8-1 record.
They would find out who they play on Sunday when the state playoff brackets came out.
As for the Falcons, they will find out who they will be playing in the state playoffs at the same time.
Centauri finished the season with a 7-2 record, and a second place finish in the Southern Peaks.