BRIGHTON — The Monarch football team won't be confused with the 'No Fly Zone' anytime soon. With that said, though, the Coyotes on the defensive side of the football in 2017 have brought a tenacious mentality like that of the local pro team we've come to enjoy.
Head coach Phil Bravo's team is still trying to figure out a lot of things offensively, but with the defense surrendering just 30 points combined in four contests so far — Brighton couldn't put up more than 10 on Saturday, a 14-10 MoHi victory that put them at 4-0 on the season — the Coyotes have been able to work through their mistakes while still netting positive results.
"They've been making big plays at opportune times and they're giving our offense time to get going," Bravo said after their latest game, which featured a defensive line that allowed just 47 rushing yards to Brighton (2-2). "We're playing real well between the 30's and as far as clock control goes, great. All in all, this is how we're going to do things — grind the clock and play stingy defense.
"You hope you get two more touchdowns out of our long drives that we didn't get today."
For now, the defense has made that not matter. The most points MHS has allowed in a game is 13 (opening night against Bear Creek) and coming off a shutout of Denver South last week the Coyotes won this game in true grind-it-out fashion.
Ernesto Chavez's 1-yard run with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left in the third quarter somehow proved to be the winning points as Monarch made a big fourth-down stop on Brighton in the fourth quarter and then embarked on a 15-play drive that did not yield points but put Brighton in too tough a spot on its final possession.
Monarch also blocked a field goal in the third quarter and limited BHS to 235 total yards.
"With our defense, we have a ton of seniors and we just want to play physical," said Ben Cole, a senior anchor on the defensive line. "We want to stop the run game first. This game we had a little more trouble with the pass game, but I think stopping the run is definitely what got us this win."
Brighton, out of the Class 4A Longs Peak League, got a little bit going in the pass game early but couldn't find that proper balance it was looking for. Quarterback Robert Coffin threw for 188 yards and gave BHS a 7-0 lead with a 35-yard pass to Ryan Ruiz, but the Bulldogs came away with just three points out of three possessions in which they had driven inside the Monarch 10.
The Coyotes shored up pass defense while maintaining a good focus on tailback Jes Cardona-Ramirez, and that togetherness helped Monarch overcome two turnovers that put Brighton up with a short field.
As for the offense, Monarch was much more effective in the second half — particularly Chavez. The senior carried the ball only once in the first half, as MoHi split time between four players, but after the break had 13 carries for 65 yards. On the drive he finished off in the third, Chavez had six carries.
But Monarch's best drive was its final one, and only a holding penalty kept them from scoring a touchdown as they were on the doorstep. After stopping Brighton at the 5-yard line, Monarch utilized Chavez, Justin Kiss (12 carries, 67 yards) and Max Laychak (seven carries, 57 yards) with great effectiveness to gain a scoring chance. The holding call negated a touchdown run and Monarch ended up turning the ball over on downs, but Brighton failed in its quest to drive 85 yards in the final 1:10.
"I thought we did a great job on that last drive of grinding it out and burning up like 8 minutes, and our defense did a great job at the end," Cole said.
"We scored on that drive, so to me we drove 95 yards there when we needed to," Bravo said. "I like our chances when we can do that often."
The Coyotes have a short week to prepare for Broomfield on Thursday at Spangenberg Field. It will be a level playing field, however, as the Eagles also played Saturday.
Monarch 14, Brighton 10
At Brighton HSMonarch (4-0)0770—14Brighton (2-2)7300—10
Brighton — Ryan Ruiz 35 pass from Robert Coffin (James Thomas kick).
Monarch — CJ Schmanski 1 run (Tyler Lanphear kick). Brighton — Thomas 25 field goal.
Monarch — Ernesto Chavez 1 run (Lanphear kick).
RUSHING — Monarch: Cole Polluconi 19-33, Ernesto Chavez 14-68, Justin Kiss 12-67, Maz Laychak 7-57, C.J. Schmanski 2-1. Brighton: Jes Cardona-Ramirez 19-58, Mateo Scarpino 1-(minus-1), Robert Coffin 4-(minus-10).
PASSING — Monarch: Schmanski 2-5-0-8. Brighton: Coffin 14-26-1-188.
RECEIVING — Monarch: Max Ryterski 1-7, Laychak 1-1. Brighton: Ryan Ruiz 7-125, Troy Coronel 4-36, Cardona-Ramirez 1-22, Coffin 1-(minus-4), Zach McCormack 1-9.