It was an amazing Delta River League opener for Monterey Trail High School last Friday night. They wanted to put an exclamation point to the school’s best start of a football season with a decent performance against undefeated Sheldon.
Perhaps, for head coach T.J. Ewing and the rabid fans at Mark Macres Memorial Stadium, the Mustangs were hopeful of winning its league opener.
Instead of one exclamation point, the Mustangs put 42 of them up in the first half alone, en route to a shocking 44-0 win over the Huskies.
With the victory, Monterey Trail is 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the DRL, setting up this Friday’s showdown at Folsom against the swift passing attack of Dano Graves and the Bulldogs.
“I knew my team would respond to a highly ranked team,” Ewing said.
After Mike Calvan found Jay Flurry on a 19-yard touchdown strike to cap the Mustangs’ opening drive of 65 yards, the turnover bug started to bite the Huskies. Monterey Trail was a grateful host over the next eight minutes.
On the Huskies’ first play, running back Burnis Chambers dropped the football at his own 23-yard line. Linebacker Kalamani Fili scooped up the loose ball and scampered down the right sidelines for a score and a 14-0 lead.
Sheldon got a break on its next possession when Ethan Clark picked off a Raymond Dickerson pass and took it back deep into Husky territory. But, a pass interference call overruled the pick. Still, Monterey Trail held and forced a Husky punt.
Evan Favors fielded the kick at his 16, broke to the left, got a couple crunching blocks and then surprised the Sheldon defenders with a burst of speed down the sidelines for a score.
Monterey Trail led 21-0 with still 4:30 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Husky sideline was in shock, while the Mustang home crowd wanted more. That’s what they got.
Clark stepped in front of a Sheldon receiver for an interception at the Husky 45 and returned the ball 11 yards. On the next play, Calvan again shocked the Sheldon defense with a pass to a wide-open Favors for a touchdown.
Sheldon wasn’t quite done making mistakes, yet.
Punter Dashawn Thagard let a snap from center go between his legs and he had to spin around to find the ball. Thagard tried to head up field but was tackled at his 16.
Two plays later, Calvan’s third touchdown toss, this one to Michael Worthen, made it 35-0 with 51 second left in the first quarter.
Receiver and place-kicker Jay Flurry, who made all six of his extra point attempts, said he wasn’t surprised by Monterey Trail’s overwhelming dominance.
“I somewhat knew we’d win big and I know we were all confident coming in,” he said.
Ewing, who has been the football coach since the school opened, admitted he had a long memory of the seasons when the Mustangs were the ones being shut out by big margins.
“We’ve been on the other side of these games too often in the past to forget it,” Ewing said. “They scored 60 on us a few years back and I didn’t forget that.”
His counterpart, Sheldon’s Ed Lombardi, paid Ewing and the Mustangs a high compliment following the shellacking.
“We’re a slow starting team to begin with but they really put it to us,” Lombardi said. “They are a well-coached team and they are obviously much better than people thought. They not only hit, but they knocked our socks off.”
Dickerson went to the bench late in the opening quarter with a badly sprained ankle and didn’t return the rest of the night. His backup, Joshua Brinkworth, just couldn’t find the spark to get Sheldon back in the game. Between the two, they completed only 3 of 13 passes for 18 yards and one interception.
Monterey Trail forced another Sheldon fumble early in the second quarter, recovered by James Meadows and four plays later were back in the end zone on Drake Tofi’s 16-yard run for a 42-0 lead.
The lone score came in the third period when Sione Sina tackled Chambers in the end zone for a safety.
“All the (DRL) teams are well coached and we’ll take them all one game at a time,” Ewing said. “I know it’s going to be a barn burner next week at Folsom.”
Meanwhile, Sheldon has found itself in a position where it needs a big win this Friday at Pleasant Grove.
“They only take two teams from our conference this year (to the playoffs),” Lombardi said. “But, tonight everything that could go wrong, went wrong. It’s one of those nights when you wake up, disaster, house is falling in. Holy cow.”
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