LAFAYETTE — Philip Bubernak only eludes tacklers if he has to. He’d rather bowl them over.
The Monarch senior did plenty of that Friday night at Warrior Stadium in the Coyotes’ 43-7 shellacking of Standley Lake, as Monarch rolled in its in-state debut as a Class 5A team.
Bubernak rushed for 254 yards and four touchdowns, with many Standley Lake would-be tacklers serving as collateral damage to his fierce, north-south running approach. The 5-foot-11, 203-pounder scored on runs of 40, 2, 4 and 50 yards.
“I just try to hit the hole, read it, and hopefully I can just go straight,” said Bubernak, who also topped the 250-yard plateau in the Coyotes’ opener against McArthur (Fla.). “Today I was lucky enough to have the holes wide open so that I could go right through them.”
Exhibiting a rushing style similar to that of former Monarch standout Ethan Marks, now a freshman at Rice, Bubernak seldom went down on the first hit.
“I just want to keep my legs moving and get as many yards as I can,” he said. “I focus on taking contact and trying just to keep going.”
Monarch (2-0) piled up 378 yards of offense, all on the ground, with senior Bruce Oliver and freshman Ernesto Chavez also finding end zone. The only downer for the Coyotes was a knee injury endured by kicker Patrick Nasiatka while making a tackle on a kickoff return.
Nasiatka, attracting a wealth of college interest, told Monarch coach Phil Bravo that he did not hear anything pop, so the Coyotes are hoping for the best.
As for Bubernak’s performance, Bravo was all smiles.
“We love it. He’s stepping right in where Ethan left,” Bravo said. “He’s been sick all week too. He had a bronchial deal going on so he had trouble breathing, but he’s just a strong kid. He’s fast, he’s powerful and he sees holes well.”
While the non-league matchup with the 4A Gators qualified as an unabashed success, Monarch makes its 5A-on-5A debut Friday at home against Poudre in the Front Range League opener for both teams.
While the offense will be entering that one with a head of steam, so will the defense. The Coyotes have given up only seven points in each game, and the touchdown accumulated by Standley Lake (0-2) was somewhat fluky. On the final play of the first half, Gators quarterback Jacob Naranjo’s 30-yard toss to the end zone was caught by a leaping Jaylen Williams.
It trimmed Monarch’s lead to 28-7 at the break, but overall, it was another keynote effort by the Coyotes’ D.
“We were flying around the ball, it was great,” Coyotes defensive tackle Jackson Stephens said. “We were doing what the coaches asked, doing what we did in practice and it’s all coming together, I think.
“We have a lot of room to grow still, but right now I like what we’re seeing.”
Bubernak’s first TD, a 40-yarder, capped Monarch’s opening drive and put the Coyotes on the board a mere 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the contest. Monarch added 21 points in the second quarter and appeared fully in command throughout.
Now the level of difficulty rises.
“It’s the second of three seasons, the first being non-conference, the third being the playoffs,” Bravo said. “Our kids are really, really geared up.”
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Monarch 43, Standley Lake 7
At Warrior Stadium
Standley Lake (0-2) 0 7 0 0 — 7
Monarch (2-0) 7 21 7 8 — 43
Monarch — Philip Bubernak 40 run (Patrick Nasiatka kick).
Monarch — Bubernak 2 run (Nasiatka kick). Monarch — Bruce Oliver 4 run (Nasiatka kick). Monarch — Bubernak 5 run (Trevor Elser kick). Standley Lake — Jaylen Williams 30 pass from Jacob Naranjo (Brendan Ragland kick).
Monarch — Bubernak 50 run (Elser kick).
Monarch — Ernesto Chavez 5 run (Zack Berohn run).
RUSHING — Standley Lake: Kilnes 6-21, Kerr 5-14, Muler 3-10, Moore 4-(minus 1), Hammack 2-(minus 1), Naranjo 2-(minus 6). Monarch: Bubernak 20-254, Chavez 6-45, Berohn 7-39, Oliver 5-22, Sloan 3-16, Stansbury 5-11, Powers 1-3, MacIntyre 2-(minus 2).
PASSING — Standley Lake: Naranjo 15-24-1-141. Monarch: Berohn 0-2-0-0
RECEIVING — Standley Lake: Moore 4-27, Muller 3-29, Gladstone 3-27, Williams 2-33, Kerr 2-19, Kilnes 1-6. Monarch: None.