LONGMONT -- See Zach run. See Zach run again.
And again and again.
It had to have gotten a little old to watch for the Skyline defense, which had pitched two shutouts in its first five games.
Just by halftime on Friday night, Monarch senior Zach Bastres had rushed 23 times. He went on to finish with 35 carries for 194 yards, plus a catch for another 12. And, mind you, this was against a Skyline defense which allowed just 130 yards of total offense for last week's entire game against Niwot.
In the end, the Coyotes' grind-it-out style proved Skyline's undoing, knocking the Falcons from the ranks of the unbeaten on Friday night. Monarch dropped 10th-ranked SHS to 5-1 with a 24-13 victory in a 4A Northern League opener at Everly Montgomery Field.
Bastres capped off drives of 64 and 80 yards with TD runs in a first half that saw Monarch take a 17-0 lead.
"I'm a little bit tired, but I could go again," he said after the game. "I love my O-line. I couldn't do it without them. I just followed their lead. Even (QB Stone MacIntyre), I followed him into the holes. It was great."
Said Monarch coach Phil Bravo of Bastres' workload: "Some guys get the hot hand and some don't. Our offensive line did a great job in controlling the line of scrimmage."
The victory evened the Coyotes' record at 3-3, while Skyline tasted defeat for the first time in 2016. With a win the Falcons could have assured themselves a winning record for the first time since the early 2000s.
"It was the first time we didn't do what we have done for five weeks, which is good execution on both sides and consistent effort for four quarters," said Skyline coach Michael Silva. "We had some lulls in both areas -- and it cost us.
"Take your hat off to Monarch. They do what they do. They came out and punched us in the mouth and we didn't answer for a while -- until after halftime."
Indeed, the Coyotes racked up 334 yards rushing overall.
After Monarch converted two fourth-down plays en route to its first score, the second MHS touchdown proved pivotal, It came after Skyline had driven to the Monarch 7-yard line in the second quarter before a holding penalty set the Falcons back, then Monarch senior Trystin Fanatia picked off a Nate McGregor pass in the end zone.
Fanatia would add a second interception in the fourth quarter with Monarch up 24-13.
Just when things started to get going offensively for Skyline in the third quarter, bad luck befell the Falcons. McGregor broke loose up the middle for a 59-yard run, but was tripped up at the Monarch 2-yard line. More importantly, McGregor hurt an ankle when he went down, becoming the second Skyline starting QB to suffer a significant injury this season. Ben Harris went out in September with a torn ACL, and now Silva said McGregor has either a severe sprain or a broken ankle. So Nate Higgins took over to wrap up the game on Friday.
"He still did make some plays, but that obviously makes it tough for any offensive unit," Silva said.
On the other side, MacIntyre got a scare pregame. As he walked out of the lockerroom just before the contest, he slipped on the cement and twisted his ankle.
"We didn't even know if he was going to start," Bravo said. "He did a great job for us and I was so proud of him."
Monarch will host Windsor on Thursday. Skyline will play three of its final four regular-season games on the road, including the next two. Next Friday, the Falcons will be at Greeley Central.
Monarch 24, Skyline 13
At Everly-Montgomery FieldMonarch 6 11 7 0 — 24
Skyline 0 0 13 0 — 13
Monarch — Zach Bastres 3 run (kick fail).
Monarch — Bastres 1 run (Bastres run). Monarch — Trevor Elser 25 FG.
Skyline — Nate Higgins 2 run (Nick Groulx kick). Monarch — Stone MacIntyre 1 run (Elser kick). Skyline — Kyle West 17 pass from Higgins (kick fail).
RUSHING — Monarch: Bastres 35-194, Bradfield 18-83, Plott 9-40, MacIntyre 8-9, Waldmann 4-8Skyline: McGregor 4-74, Higgins 13-39, West 1-20, Rivera 1-4, Wathen 1-(-2).
PASSING — Monarch: MacIntyre 3-7-0-50. Skyline: McGregor 4-9-1-32, Higgins 2-4-1-39.
RECEIVING — Monarch: Hall 2-50, Bastres 1-12. Skyline: West 2-28, Hall 2-8, Gutierrez 1-22, Higgins 1-13.