LAFAYETTE – The Monarch defense held for nearly four quarters, but when No. 9 Rampart finally broke through, the offense needed to step up.

It did – in a big way, and the homecoming crowd was treated to a playoff-type win two weeks into the season.

The Coyotes (2-0) struggled offensively Friday, but when the game was tied at 7 they found a rhythm. They drove 80 yards in 12 plays, capped by Justin Kiss’ 1-yard plunge with 2 minutes, 26 left, to beat the Rams 14-7.

“It’s huge for us,” Monarch quarterback CJ Schmanski said. “Rampart’s always got a good team. It was definitely a challenge.”

It was challenge made a little easier because Rampart (2-1) was missing senior quarterback Keion Cross. The Monarch defense was strong throughout, getting two interceptions by senior Jack Kapushion – one to turn the momentum of the game and the other to end it.

“Our defense was great tonight,” head coach Phil Bravo said. “Two great picks by Jack.”

The first one, nabbed at about the Monarch 20 and returned to the 43, quickly turned into points. Senior Cole Polluconi ripped off runs of 28 and 29 yards to give the Coyotes a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

“Once Jack got that pick we said it was our time and we had to capitalize on it,” Schmanski said.

That lead held until Rampart got the ball at the 50 with 10:19 left. Quarterback Kevin Witcher led the Rams down the field, hitting one pass for 17 yards before Jared Behm scored from 15 yards out to tie it.

The touchdown seemed to ignite Monarch’s offense. Schmanski, who hadn’t completed a pass all game, connected with Max Laychak for 19 yards and Brenden Christensen for 18 to set up the Coyotes at midfield.

Kiss ran 28 yards into the red zone, and then five more times to give the Coyotes the lead.

It was up to the defense. Rampart drove to the 34 and Witcher tried to hit a receiver inside the 10 but Kapushion got there, ripped the ball away from the receiver and Monarch held on.

“I saw the receiver come up and saw the quarterback throw it and I went for it,” Kapushion said. “We both had two hands on it but I just came out with it.”

The Monarch bench had a collective sigh of relief after that.

“We might be in overtime but Jack hits that weight room hard and ripped the ball out of his hands,” Bravo said.

Follow us on Twitter:

Monarch 14, Rampart 7

At Spangenberg Field

Rampart (2-1)0007—7Monarch (2-0)7007—14

First quarter

Monarch — Cole Polluconi 29 run (Tyler Lanphear kick).

Fourth quarter

Rampart — Jared Behm 20 run (Jack McReynolds kick). Monarch — Justin Kiss 1 run (Lanphear kick).


RUSHING — Rampart: Chris Yoo 18-36, Kevin Witcher 8-33, Chris Schockey 5-31, Jared Behm 3-22, Seth Sheppard 2-10. Monarch: Chris Polluconi 21-91, Justin Kiss 15-78, Max Laychak 2-2, CJ Schmanski 3-(-3).

PASSING — Rampart: Witcher 3-13-2-34. Monarch: Schmanski 2-7-0-37.

RECEIVING — Rampart: Ethan Spendlove 1-17, Behm 1-9, Brio Rookey 1-8. Monarch: Laychak 1-19, Brenden Christensen 1-18.