There’s something in the water at Monterey Trail High School.
The Mustangs first shut down previously undefeated Sheldon on Oct. 16.
And then Folsom, also unbeaten, was next.
Monterey Trail, off to a 2-0 start in the Delta River League for the first time in school history, knocked off its second consecutive unbeaten opponent with a stunning 22-21 overtime win at Folsom last Friday.
The Mustangs and the Bulldogs went neck-to-neck in a clash that deadlocked them into a tie that lasted until Monterey Trail’s fourth and final scoring attempt during overtime.
After his team scored a touchdown, junior running back Drake Tofi then broke through Folsom’s barb-wired defense and scored the tie-breaking two points to secure his team’s victory.
“They said we couldn’t do it,” wide receiver Evan Favors repeatedly shouted at his fellow Mustangs after the game. “We gave it to them.”
The Mustangs’ latest triumph is an about-face from recent years when the 5-year-old football program struggled to win games. Not any longer.
Monterey Trail head coach T.J. Ewing gave an airborne hug to an assistant coach when dozens of congratulations were delivered among his team and their fans.
Monterey Trail, along with Pleasant Grove, is one of only two unbeaten league teams left in the DRL. Monterey Trail hosts Pleasant Grove this Friday at Mark Macres Memorial Stadium.
“It was a great victory for our program and our school, and I’m excited,” Ewing said.
Ewing mentioned that he loves players with four-lettered surnames. Tofi and linebacker Kalamani Fili, who aided Monterey Trail’s bid to disrupt Folsom’s high-powered offense that had scored 110 points combined in the previous two games, came to his mind.
“(Tofi’s) got a tremendous heart that’s a part of his nature as a person and his family,” Ewing said.
Monterey Trail’s turnaround this season has been in large part to a defense that had four shutouts in its first six games. Limiting Folsom to 21 points is almost similar to a shutout.
Folsom had scored 40 or more points in each game this season. They scored all 14 points of regulation in the first half against Monterey Trail.
Receiver Christian Dacosta caught a pass and dashed 14 yards to score a touchdown for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Mustang defense soon rebounded that quarter when defensive back Ethan Clark intercepted the ball to halt Folsom’s drive at the Monterey Trail 30-yard line.
Monterey Trail then fought to enter Folsom territory, where they risked a fourth down by having Tofi break through to gain a first down at the Bulldogs’ 40.
The Mustangs mainly stuck to a conservative running offense throughout the game, grinding the clock and keeping Folsom’s offense on the sidelines.
Tofi tied the game at 7 on a fourth-and-goal conversion from the 1.
Folsom’s ensuing drive was stopped on another interception by Clark, this time near the goal line.
During the second quarter’s final minute, Folsom running back Jordan Richards scored an 11-yard touchdown for a 14-7 halftime lead.
Neither team scored in the third quarter before Monterey Trail quarterback Mike Calvan tied the game at 14 on a one-yard touchdown run.
Monterey Trail had a chance to win the game in regulation on a last-second field goal attempt from 37 yards. The kick had plenty of distance but sailed wide left.
“They have put on a show for us,” the game announcer said about the teams after the fourth quarter ended.
During overtime, Monterey Trail chose to forfeit their winning coin toss in order to be the last one to have four attempts to break the tie.
Folsom scored a touchdown on the first play and kicked the extra point for a 21-14 lead. Monterey Trail re-tied the game with a touchdown from Tofi on third-and-goal from the 3. Ewing could have opted for the extra point to tie the game and force a possible second overtime.
Instead, faced with the task of trying to stop Folsom from just 10 yards out, Ewing decided to go for the two-point try and the win. Tofi scored.
Thus, the decision paid off.
“This whole week, we’ve been working twice as hard,” Tofi said. “If it weren’t for my linemen I wouldn’t be able to get that.”
The decision to go for the win is much easier in the preseason, when wins are not as valuable and the idea is to prevent injuries. On the road and with first place in the DRL on the line, Monterey Trail sustained its midseason momentum with arguably the biggest in school history, at least to date.
“The biggest game of the year is next week, too,” Ewing said. “(Pleasant Grove) is the league champion…it’s on.”
Tag(s): In the News