Thursday, December 8, 2011
Preview: San Gabriel at Monrovia
By Blair Angulo
MID-VALLEY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
San Gabriel Matadors (9-4) vs. No. 4-seeded Monrovia Wildcats (10-3)
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Monrovia High School
Broadcast: Live on FoxSportsWest.com
How they got here: Unseeded San Gabriel, the Almont League champion, beat Maranatha (9-3), second-seeded Arroyo (40-38) and third-seeded San Dimas (29-28). Defending division champion Monrovia beat Pomona (24-7), Whittier Christian (67-21) and top-seeded Covina (41-27).
School history: The Matadors are making their second finals appearance in school history. They lost in the 2003 title game. This is Monrovia's third consecutive title game appearance and 10th overall. The Wildcats finally won a championship last year after losing in their eight previous attempts.
Key players: San Gabriel has dual-threat quarterback Andy Guerrero (230 passing yards per game) and defensive back Alex Villalobos. Monrovia is led by highly touted defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy, linebacker George Frazier, quarterback Blake Heyworth and tailback Marquise Bias.
Matadors' take: "We've grown and matured with that adversity [of starting the season 1-4]. Things have changed. We're a new team. All year we've been underdogs, so I guess we're used to it by now. We're taking it just as any other game we've played this season." - offensive lineman and team captain Brian Lopez
Wildcats' take: "We have that playoff experience and it helps. The kids aren't as apt to get nervous and have been there. For some of them it's their third time at a championship game. They know what to expect and that helps calm the nerves." - coach Ryan Maddox