A closely fought 24-20 defeat ends the Wildcats’ playoff journey
After an incredibly successful season, one in which the team outscored their opponents 257-24 over the last six victories, the Wildcats season came to a heart-breaking conclusion after losing 24-20 against the Newport Harbor Sailors in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Playoff Football Bracket.
The game itself was a tightly contested matchup from the very beginning. On away field, the Wildcats opened the scoring with a short 3-yard rushing touchdown. Their defense quickly continued to earn momentum as they forced a fumble on the Sailors’ next drive. Unfortunately for Monrovia, however, quarterback Nick Hernandez threw an interception and rewarded the Sailors back with the ball on their own 36-yard line.
Although the turnover failed to result in a score for the Sailors, the offense struggled to move the ball throughout the remainder of the quarter. Newport Harbor eventually evened the score late in the first when the team connected on a deep touchdown throw, leaving the game tied at seven apiece.
The second quarter continued to be a closely fought affair. The Wildcats once again opened the scoring in the period, taking the lead once more with another rushing score. With the scoreboard showing a 14-7 lead for Monrovia, the Sailors responded with a field goal before the half, giving the Wildcats the four-point lead heading into the break.
The third quarter was nothing short of a defensive battle. Neither team was able to earn points by the end of the 12 minutes, leaving the fourth quarter vitally important. It started off strong for Monrovia, as they took a commanding 20-10 lead with 11 minutes left to go in the contest. The score was the result of another short-yardage rushing touchdown.
It was up to the defense for the Wildcats. The Sailors responded to the Wildcats touchdown with an impressive drive that resulted in a touchdown of their own, and the clock was brought down to seven minutes. Monrovia’s offense couldn’t respond with a score and instead were forced to punt the ball back to Newport Harbor after a three and out.
Despite the Sailors also having to punt the ball back to the Wildcats following their next drive, the home side once again had possession of the ball after a costly fumble by Monrovia. This set up the Sailors for a walk-off touchdown drive that essentially ended the game with less than a minute left. When the final whistle blew the home crowd cheered from excitement as their team had won 24-20.
For the seniors participating in this contest, it will be the final time they head onto the field wearing that Wildcat green. Nevertheless, this team has nothing to hold their heads low about as they had an impressive campaign in which they were only two wins away from obtaining a CIF Championship.