by David Winchell
SAN GABRIEL – Swamps have often been sites where people, objects and stuff disappear. At South El Monte, in the stadium often called “The Swamp”, a six-game win streak brought in by Gabrielino vanished with a 22-9 defeat. South El Monte scored 15 quick points in the first quarter and held Gabrielino out of the endzone until midway through the fourth quarter, dominating in both the offensive and defensive trenches during the Mission Valley League contest. Gabrielino is now 6-1 and South El Monte 3-4.
Opening the game on defense, South El Monte set the tone by not allowing Gabrielino a first down and getting the ball after the punt. On the first offensive drive, South El Monte mixed both passing and running, holding the ball for nearly 8 minutes before South QB Levi Wells found Jordan Vargas for a 7 yard touchdown pass. The kick was good and South was up 7-0. The next drive by Gab also stalled and again had to punt the ball back to South. Pablo Ocegueda grabbed the punt and took the ball 58 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown. A poor snap on the PAT meant scrambling for the 2 point conversion and with just 45 seconds left in the first, South was leading 15-0.
Both team’s defenses got stronger and the second quarter saw no scoring. Gab’s offense could not get the run game going and was able to make just one first down with a pass, although many others were ‘earned’ through penalties against South El Monte. The third quarter began with a fumbled snap by South, recovered by Gabrielino. The subsequent drive stalled without a touchdown, but backup kicker, Eddie Garcia knocked home a 30 yard field goal to get Gab on the scoreboard.
Gab QB Elijah Peters could not get untracked as he was constantly hurried and harassed by a tenacious South El Monte defense. With just 7:07 remaining in the fourth, Peters finally hooked up with receiver Cameryn Matthews for a 47 yard score, but the PAT was wide leaving the score 15-9. The Gab defense did keep South at bay, but after getting the ball back, they were unable to move against the South defense. South then drove the ball down field and scored with just 41 seconds remaining on a 7 yard Wells keeper. The PAT was converted and the 22-9 score gave South El Monte their first Mission Valley League victory and hand Gab their first taste of defeat in 2012.
Next week’s games find Gabrielino travelling to Rosemead (3-4, 1-1 in league) while South El Monte stays at the Swamp to face Arroyo (4-3, 1-1 in league). Arroyo, Rosemead, South El Monte and Gabrielino are all 1-1 in the competitive Mission Valley League and will have to stay focused and win consistently to make possible any CIF playoff aspirations.
(3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)