Los Angeles Preps: Blake Heyworth

Mid-Valley: Monrovia 53, San Gabriel 14

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
12:00
AM PT


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."

(Read full post)

Monrovia on the verge of repeat

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
9:57
PM PT
Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox was in the process of explaining his team's success when he glanced over at mammoth-sized defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, who was sitting at a nearby table Monday at the annual CIF-Southern Section championships luncheon in Long Beach.

No need to say much else.

"He makes your defense, you build your defense around him," Maddox said of his highly touted player. "His presence frees up your linebackers to fly around and make plays. Ellis and our other defensive lineman demand blocks. Teams have to scheme for them."

McCarthy and the fourth-seeded Monrovia Wildcats (10-3), winners of nine straight, have allowed an average 17 points per game. They look to defend their Mid-Valley Division championship Saturday night against visiting San Gabriel (9-4) after knocking off top-seeded Covina in the semifinals.

"It's a tougher road because you become the target," Maddox said of defending the 2010 title, "but we've battled and played great football."

There's been growth, especially at the crucial quarterback position.

Junior linebacker George Frazier doubled as the team's signal caller to start the season, before Blake Heyworth was cleared to play. Heyworth has passed for 2,276 and 24 touchdowns, filling the void left by the graduation of dual-threat Nick Bueno, the reigning Mid-Valley player of the year.

"It's Blake's first year of varsity football," Maddox said. "He's a completely different player than Nick, more of a pocket quarterback who does a good job of distributing the ball to our athletes, spreading the field and creating holes for our running game."

Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Preview: San Gabriel at Monrovia

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
9:50
PM PT
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

Prediction: Monrovia 34, San Gabriel 27

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