Monarchs storm back in the fourth quarter to win season opener

The Monarchs scored 12-straight points late in the fourth quarter to start their new season with a win.

By Harrison McQuinn, Sports Editor

Valley College entered Falcon Field to Darth Vader’s “Imperial March” and booing fans which left the Monarch’s football team trailing all game until a last-minute rally during Saturday’s season opener.

The unfriendly welcome clearly rattled the Monarch roster, comprised mostly of first-year players, pushing them to several false starts, illegal substitutions and blown plays totaling 135 penalty yards. However, it was that same rookie spirit which saw the team storm back in a fourth-quarter run for a 25-14 win.

“A little bit of luck and a little bit of right calls; It’s scary sometimes… like a ‘50 First Dates’ kind of deal,” said Head Coach Matt White, who credited the win to his rookie players.

It didn’t help matters that the Monarchs (1-0) lost kicker Anton Xerez-Burgos before the opener, as a series of shallow kicks gave the Falcons great field position. Cerritos used the poor kicking game by Valley to secure a 14-13 after the break and both teams’ offenses went cold in the third.

With less than three minutes remaining, Monarchs’ wide receiver Jeremiah Lorick ran it for 20 yards, setting up Valley’s first score in the fourth quarter. After the run, Shonte Smith took a pass into the end zone to give Valley a 19-14 lead. The Monarchs missed their second extra-point attempt.

Valley scored the final points of the contest when linebacker Kenneth Harrell recovered a third-down fumble in Falcon territory and ran it for the score. Valley missed its third-consecutive extra-point conversion, making the final score 25-14.

“We hung in there; we didn’t rush it,” said safety Romeo Gunt of the team’s finale comeback after trailing for most of the game.

The Monarchs will host College of the Desert Sept. 9 at 7 p.m., for their first home game of the season. The Hall of Fame recognition BBQ taking place before the game.

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