The grand champion Monarch football team caps their season with a stunning fourth quarter rally that ended in a victory over the SouthWestern Panthers at Monarch Stadium.
By Emil G. Claes and D.R. Harward, Staff
Monarch Pride is an early holiday gift that head football coach Robert Tucker and his team gave Valley College by beating the Southwestern Panthers 24-16 at home and bringing home the CCCAA American Division Championship title.
Although the Panthers were the statistical favorites, Tucker stuck to the strategy that had been successful in their past 10 games– a quick-scoring offense and dominating second-half defense. The offense, led by quarterback Christian Jorgenson can score instantly and without warning.
The Panthers opened on offense but were held to only 10-yards before being forced to punt.
It took the Monarchs all of 35 seconds to turn their possession into points, with Jorgensen executing two lightening-fast passes; the first for 8 yards to Chris Phillips and the second to wide receiver Ahkil Crumpton, who ran it for a 52-yard touchdown. Kicker Rodolfo Oliver added the extra point bring the score to 7-0.
The second quarter started in the Monarchs’ favor as their six-play, 36-yard set-up allowed Oliver to convert a 31-yard field goal putting them up 10-0.
But, about halfway into the second quarter, Panther Isaih Strayhorn found a gap in the Monarch defense and made a 46-yard run into the end zone, bringing Southwestern back into the game.
With less than two minutes left in the half, a pass by Jorgensen was picked off by Panther JJ Dallas, a mistake that would give SouthWestern a 13-10 lead. The Panthers added an additional three points, but Monarch Ahkil Crumpton pulled off a score with a 95-yard kickoff return, giving Valley a 17-16 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Southwestern experienced the Monarchs’ brutal final-quarter defense and discovered the reason why the Monarchs are the only undefeated team out of the 52 colleges in their conference. The Monarchs found the end zone three more times during the fourth quarter, but two touchdowns would be called back due to offensive penalties. The Valley defense would completely dominate the entire quarter, only allowing Southwestern a total of just 34 yards and no points.
After the Monarchs claimed victory, the entire team almost reverently took a knee as they huddled around their coach.
“Quiet down and listen up everyone,” shouted Tucker, then lowering his voice he looked intensely at every single player, “I’m darn proud of every single one of you.”
The Star has learned that members of the 2016 Monarch football program have been honored by the California Community College Athletic Association for their outstanding performance, congratulations to all!