GREELEY — Wes Moon knew defense was the key coming into the Monarch Coyotes matchup with Greeley West.
Thankfully for the No. 3 Coyotes, Moon brought his A game.
The senior safety made three game changing plays in Monarch’s 21-7 road victory on Thursday night.
After Monarch scored on a 19 play, 80-yard drive to open the game, Greeley West was driving for the tying score.
Spartans quarterback Brandon Gallatin was running toward the goal line with plenty of space but Moon came out of nowhere to stop Gallatin one yard short of the pylon. On the next play, Gallatin fumbled and the Coyotes defense came up with their first of many key stops.
“They have some really talented guys on their team,” Moon said. “I was really proud with the way the defense played.”
The two teams battled throughout the rest of the first half but both were unable to score.
Monarch scored on the opening drive of the second half, going 57 yards on 16 plays. Running back Jared Meschke scored his second of three touchdowns, punching it in from the one-yard line.
Down 14-0, West turned to the passing game. Gallatin hit three consecutive passes, netting 37 yards, to give the Spartans the ball at the Coyotes’ 34. But Moon stepped in front of a pass and returned it 11 yards to end the threat.
Monarch went three and out on its next possession and the Spartans finally found the end zone when Gallatin hit James Dowgin on a 44-yard crossing route to cut the deficit to 14-7.
The Spartans again forced the Coyotes to punt and were driving deep into Coyote territory with just under eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
But again Moon changed the tide.
He stepped in front of Dowgin and picked off another Gallatin pass to all but seal the victory for the Coyotes.
“Wes Moon made some huge plays for us tonight,” MHS coach Phil Bravo said. “He led the defense that just played outstanding.”
Monarch chewed up 6:24 of the remaining clock going 80 yards with Meschke plunging in for his third score of the game.
“I have to give my offensive line all the credit,” said Meschke, who totaled 125 yards on the ground. “They opened the holes and made room for me to run. It’s a big win for us.”
Monarch (2-0) will travel to Broomfield on Sept. 16 and Bravo said the Coyotes still have things to work on.
“This was a good win for us tonight, but we need to clean some things up,” he said. “Broomfield will be a tough game and we need to be ready to play.”
Monarch 21, Greeley West 7
At District Stadium 6
Monarch (2-0) 7 0 7 7 — 21
Greeley West (1-1) 0 0 0 7 — 7
Monarch — Jared Meschke 1-yd run. (Jaimie Falloon kick good).
Monarch — Meschke 1-yd run. (Falloon kick).
Greeley West — James Dowgin 44-yd pass from Brandon Gallatin (Grant Buchanan kick).
Monarch — Meschke 1-yd run (Falloon kick).
Rushing — Monarch: Meschke 29-125; Ethan Marks 12-50; Gus Sawicki 11-83; Alex Blazon 6-38; Joey Bata 2-(-7). Greeley West: David Eddy 11-33; Brandon Gallatin 3-6.
Passing (Comp-Att-yards-TD-INT) — Monarch: Bata 1-1-20-0-0. Greeley West: Gallatin 16-24-183-1-2.
Receiving — Monarch: Sawicki 1-20. Greeley West: Dowgin 8-108; Hunter Barry 3-31; R.J. Johnson 3-40; Alex Witte1-4.