Sunday, December 11, 2011
Mid-Valley: Monrovia 53, San Gabriel 14
By Blair Angulo
MONROVIA -- Marquise Bias swung the flag pole feverishly as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard. Back and forth, back and forth he swayed until the flag wrapped around itself and became tangled, the large Monrovia logo no longer readable.
It was about the only thing Bias did wrong Saturday night.
The senior running back rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns, propelling Monrovia to its second straight CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship with a 53-14 drubbing of San Gabriel. After falling short in their previous eight finals appearances, the Wildcats have gone back to back.
"Marquise has done that all year," coach Ryan Maddox said. "He keeps his feet moving and doesn't stop."
Like at every Monrovia home game, ceramic fire pots aligned in the shape of the letter M flickered high on a hill adjacent to the renovated field. On this night, it could have very well stood for Marquise.
Bias' six-yard touchdown run on a gutsy fourth-and-1 call early in the second half was the go-ahead score. The fourth-seeded Wildcats (11-3) scored 39 unanswered after the break and capped their season by winning 10 in a row.
"Coach gave a little speech," Bias said. "He told us to pick it up and play the way we've been playing."
Versatile back De'Shawn Ramirez added 150 total yards and three touchdowns, including a 66-yard romp in the final minutes that was the exclamation point on a game that got out of hand quick.
Unseeded San Gabriel (9-5), which started the season 1-4, squeaked by to reach the final, beating its three opponents by a combined nine points. The Almont League champions beat Maranatha (9-3), second-seeded Arroyo (40-38) and third-seeded San Dimas (29-28). The Matadors, making only their second finals appearance in school history, were in it at halftime when receiver Alex Villalobos hauled in his second touchdown.
"They did not surprise us," Maddox said. "They did what they do well."
Villalobos needed 81 receiving yards Saturday to ascend to the top of the state leaderboard. He finished with 11 catches for 147 yards, giving him a total of 1,965 for the season.
After Bias’ tie-breaking touchdown, Ellis McCarthy recovered a fumble deep in San Gabriel territory and quarterback Blake Heyworth dove into the end zone from a yard out for the two-possession lead. The ensuing extra-point hold was botched but Darius McClain found Cade Schultz for the two-point conversion.
"We turned it around," Monrovia linebacker George Frazier said.
Shortly thereafter, Bias added his third touchdown, and the rout was on.
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLA.com. Follow him on Twitter.