By Richard Hernandez ~ SGV Tribune
In its first two games of the season, the Los Altos High football team showed explosiveness with decisive wins against Covina and rival Wilson, outscoring its opponents 113-22.
Facing a tougher challenger on Friday night, the Conquerors displayed some resiliency, scoring 27 consecutive points to turn a seven-point deficit late in the second quarter into a 34-14 victory over visiting Monrovia (2-1).
“Hats off to Monrovia,” Los Altos coach Travis Brown said. “They are a well-coached team. All we preach is team ball and tonight we played team ball for four quarters.”
Los Altos (3-0) only completed five passes, but made them all count, racking up four touchdowns and 243 yards through the air between quarterbacks Justin Gaytan and David Hacegaba.
Hacegaba came off the bench to start the third quarter and connected with Zedekiah Rodriguez for a 51-yard touchdown giving Los Altos its first lead of the night at 21-14.
“We manage it week by week,” Brown said of the Conquerors’ quarterback rotation. “We see how they play and we let the rest of the team follow suit.”
After Los Altos recovered a fumble at the Monrovia 10-yard line, the Wildcats did well to hold the Conquerors to a field goal from Jacob Gonzalez. Hacegaba was sacked on consecutive plays pushing Los Altos back to its 31-yard line before a 22-yard reception from Isaiah Verdugo put the Conquerors back in field-goal range. Monrovia’s offense which did so well controlling the clock in the first half, was held scoreless in the second half, unable to move the ball past midfield.
Los Altos opened up a 31-14 lead with 8:30 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run from junior Jonathan Lopez, set up by Rodriguez’s punt return deep into Wildcats territory.
Los Altos and Monrovia played a quick first half, going into the locker room tied at 14. However, the path to 14 could not have been more contrasting for each team.
Monrovia ran 20 more offensive plays than the Conquerors, scoring touchdowns on two drives that combined for nearly 13 minutes of time of possession.
Meanwhile, the Conquerors relied on two big plays to stay even with the Wildcats, 66- and 80-yard touchdown receptions from Verdugo and Rodriguez, respectively.
The long touchdowns were exactly what the Conquerors offense needed struggling to move the ball otherwise, with only 2 yards of offense on its other 11 plays in the first half.
The Wildcats’ defense chased Gaytan all over his own backfield in the first quarter before forcing a fumble that was recovered by Hunter Nicely at the Conquerors 18-yard line.
The sack that caused the fumble capped a four-play sequence which saw Monrovia sack Gaytan three times.On the next play, the Wildcats scored the first points of the game with an 18-yard reception from Nick Hernandez to Mario Minor.
Minor led the Wildcats offense, hauling in nine receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Conquerors will be on the road this week as they take on the Glendora Tartans on Friday at 7pm at Citrus College.