LOS ALTOS HILLS, CA - In their first 'home away from home' game at Foothill College, the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs were looking to make a statement. Junior cornerback Alex Sloan did just that, notching an interception with two minutes remaining to seal a 21-12 win over visiting Aptos.
The Monarchs offense started inauspiciously, turning the ball over four times in the first quarter, starting off with a fumble coming off the opening kickoff. After the sloppy start, senior Monarch quarterback Phillip Tran would carry the offense the rest of the way, completing 23 of 33 passes for 231 yards, plus two rushing touchdowns.
“We tried to erase all the mental mistakes we had from last game, and in the first quarter of this one,” said Tran. “It’s all about protecting the ball- we have to act like it’s our own baby. Once we started doing that, then we started pounding the ball into the endzone.”
Tran had help from his running backs as well, as they totaled just under 200 yards on the ground.
Aptos’ offense was led by senior quarterback Gavin Glaum, who put up an efficient 12 of 18 for 146 yards passing. Most of those yards were to senior Joey Riccabona, who had 10 receptions for 121 yards.
Glaum, although upset with the loss, seemed to keep his head up, saying, “Definitely could’ve put up a better fight, but we just need to learn to keep our energy up if we want to win.”
After Aptos failed to take advantage of the fumbled opening kickoff and a Tran interception, they were finally able to punch it in before the first quarter ended after Monarch tailback Zondre Faraj-Washington, who ended up with a rushing touchdown later in the second half for the Monarchs, fumbled the ball inside of his own red zone. After a failed extra-point, Mariners’ 6-0 lead would then be diminished by a Tran one-yard rushing touchdown with under a minute left in the half.
Aptos’ six points would stay the same almost until the end of the game, highlighted by impressive defensive stops by the Mitty defense, including a third-quarter goal-line stand.
“We called a play to go towards a certain side of the line of scrimmage, while we had all of our linemen on the opposite side," said Aptos coach Randy Blankenship, explaining a botched play in that third quarter stand. "I’m very disappointed, we can’t make these mistakes in a game like this if we want to win.”
With about five minutes to play and trailing 21-6, Aptos secured a quick 80 drive down the field, topped off with a Gaum 20-yard touchdown pass to Riccabona. In the end, it proved to be all too late, as Mitty closed out with the 21-12 win.
“We needed a win the worst way, if you know what I mean,” says Monarchs second-year coach Keith Burns. “Defensively, we knew what we had to do. It was all about taking care of the ball after that.”
Archbishop Mitty will try to keep the winning vibes going on the road next Friday, as they face Palo Alto. The Mariners look to regain their momentum, with Capital Christian coming to play in Aptos, which is next Friday as well.