It didn’t take long for the Monterey Trail Mustangs to continue their 2018 dominance against the River City Raiders on Friday. And when they did, they didn’t even take a peek behind their backs as they manhandled their opponent, 76-0 being the final score. Before the Mustang offense even had a chance to touch the ball, their defense and special teams had already begun their quest for carnage. They easily kept the Raider offense from gaining so much as a few yards, and got themselves out to a quick 14-0 lead on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Andrew Almonte and a fumble recovered for another score by Germaine Spearman.These scores were just the first two of 11touchdowns scored by the Mustangs on Friday, by far the most they have scored in a game this year. While it’s not likely they will exceed or even meet their scoring output from this week, this squad is certainly special enough and talented enough to sustain their dominance throughout the second half of the season and into the postseason, and head coach TJ Ewing echoes this belief.
“The community’s time put in [has helped make this team special]…All the parents, all the coaches, coach Accuri, coach Kenewade, coach Coronado the AD, all those guys that have been here for so many years have helped build this community and get everyone bought in, so we have the youth program kids finally at the high school. That’s the big thing: more kids have played football in our [youth] program than before.”
And playing alongside each other from the days of pee wee football has helped build a chemistry that has clearly carried over into their high school years: just as everyone hopes to draw it up. Even prior to this one, the Mustangs had averaged nearly 44 points a game on offense while allowing seven or fewer points twice, so it’s not surprising that they were able to put together such a dominating performance this time around against the struggling River City.
For instance, the Zach Larrier to Andre Crump hookup has been a staple of their offense all year long and they continued their brilliant rapport with three connections for 79 yards and three scores against River City. They also made their presence felt in other facets of the game, as Larrier added a 41-yard touchdown run when being forced out of the pocket, and Crump picked off a River City pass at the top of the second quarter and nearly brought it back to the house before being downed at the two yard line, thus setting up a quick Jehiel Budgett score.
As dominating as the Mustangs have been however, any team, no matter how talented or overwhelming they may be, they need to have depth at each position. And the coaching staff (and of course the players themselves) have to get those in the second or third-string positions on the depth chart ready to go in case something unfortunate were to happen to a starter and they missed time. Games such as the one against River City are crucial for getting backup players acclimated to the game script.
“It’s good for the camaraderie. Everyone’s getting playing time, we’ve got film on all of them…so now we can watch the film on Saturday, tell them what they need to do, and praise them for a job well done,” said Ewing, who now in his tenth year at the helm, has his best team yet. “All those things happened from those guys getting playing time and we like that.”
By the end of the first half, the Mustangs were up 55-0, the running clock had already started, and Monterey Trail had taken out nearly all of their starters out of the game. And the reserves made the most of their time on the field, namely sophomore Prophet Brown. Forced to wait his turn with the senior running backs ahead of him, Brown came off the bench and immediately put his mark on this game. He only had three carries, with one going for a lone yard, and the other two going for touchdowns at 78 yards and 29 yards, respectively.
Regardless of who is on the field for the Mustangs, the chemistry that has built between these young men has produced one of the more talented high school football teams in the area, and easily the most explosive team Monterey Trail has ever had. If they keep up this dominating pace, they will have a chance to go undefeated, and an even better chance to be the scariest team to have to face come playoff time. They will look to keep their hot streak alive this coming week against Kennedy High.
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