Monterey Trail capped off its short and perfect spring football season with a 55-19 win over Antelope on Friday night.
The Mustangs scored 21 unanswered points to start the game, with Otha Williams Jr. rushing into the end zone from 60 yards out, Frank Arcuri connecting with Jamauri Jackson for a 65-yard touchdown pass and Chris Lands getting an 82-yard touchdown run.
Coach T.J. Ewing said the team has players capable of making those types of explosive plays thanks to the culture and foundation that’s been built over the years.
“We have a lot of explosive players and the kids work really hard at that and in the offseason,” he said. “They’ve been playing for a few years now and been training a few years now. It’s just getting the culture that has been on campus for years.
“You have a lot of guys that are on campus teachers that coach with us too. So there’s a lot of buy-in and a lot of trust with the community. It’s taken a long time to build that with our youth program.”
The biggest struggle for Antelope through the first half was missed opportunities. The Titans made it into the red zone midway through the first quarter before a holding penalty pushed them back and resulted in a missed field goal. A further two trips in the second quarter only yielded field goals on both occasions.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lands mishandled the ball on the catch, but was able to recover and score a return touchdown, giving Monterey Trail an additional buffer.
“I just felt it,” Lands said. I just had to go out with a bang and had to go out with something strong.”
Lands is one of 15 seniors on the team who will graduate after the abridged season and said that the next route for him is junior college ball pending any better offer.
“It’s sad, but happy knowing I can move on to the next level and keep going,” he said.
Fellow senior Xaiver Powe also made an impact on the game, grabbing two interceptions and returning one of them for a touchdown right before halftime.
“We wish we could play a full season but five games is all we got, so we did the best we could do it and went 5-0,” Powe said.
Powe also plans to play collegiate ball with the obvious hope of going pro, but acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding this season had an effect on motivation before they got their heads down.
“It was real hard because we had no motivation going to practice not knowing if you were going to have a season or not,” he said. “So we just always thought positively. It was just always about coming to practice and putting in the work.”
Curron Borders gave Antelope their first touchdown in the third quarter, scoring on a one-yard rush while the team’s leading rusher De’Magea Hogan punched in a three-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
But Monterey Trail got the last score of the game with Ronnie Brutus breaking off for a 65-yard touchdown run, putting an exclamation point on the game and his team’s perfect season.
Ewing said he was proud of how the team handled the season, especially considering it played four of their five games on the road and all against non-league opponents.
“To be able to go like with no prep and just walk in and play a game like a street basketball game and play like that,” Ewing said. “Really gotta give it up to our senior class and the guys that committed this many months and really stuck with it.
One of the games that the Mustangs tried to schedule was against Folsom, but several factors prevented the game from being played. And despite that quick turnaround when football returns in the fall, Monterey Trail is relishing the chance to play the Bulldogs in five short months.
“We’re excited. We play Folsom August 20th in week zero, so we get five months,” he said. “Our kids are excited to play. We got a lot of returning kids and there’s guys that really have to step up and so we’ll see what happens.”
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