Football: Monarch sputters after hot start in loss to Greeley West

Spartans need just one score in final nine drives to pull ahead

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LAFAYETTE — Monarch’s defense held strong with its back against the wall most of Friday night.

In the end, however, there was nothing to lean on.

Greeley West left Spangenberg Field with a 13-12 victory thanks to a Coyotes offense gone cold and a go-ahead touchdown from running back Eddie Ramirez with 6 minutes, 13 seconds remaining.

Afterward, the shortcomings seemed rather endless for Monarch coach Phil Bravo.

Monarch High School's Matthew Luo runs ...
Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
Monarch High School’s Matthew Luo runs the ball during a game against Greeley West on Friday in Lafayette.

“We got outplayed on the line of scrimmage at times, we missed some critical completions when we had opportunities for them,” Bravo said. “We fumbled the ball on our opening drive (of the second half), we had letdowns on the offensive line at times. All those combinations of things are toxic when you’re a ball-control offense.”

A point-after try getting blocked and a two-point conversion fail didn’t help matters in the opening quarter, either.

“A lot of it falls on my shoulders,” said Bravo, whose team travels to Broomfield next week. “I got to get these guys a little better prepared for stuff like this. We got to get back on the sled and got to get these guys going.”

Squeezing tightly on a 12-7 lead, Monarch (1-2) held strong with stops on seven consecutive drives — three starting inside its own territory — from late in the first quarter to midway through the fourth.

Backed up twice late in the half, senior Max Fredricksmeyer’s interception ended a deep threat with a couple minutes remaining and then time expired inside the 5 on the Spartans’ ensuing drive.

In the third, the Coyotes forced a fumble on the goal line as Jackson Petitte came out of a scrum with the ball raised above his head. In the fourth, they forced another turnover on downs before Ramirez capped off a 52-yard drive to put the Spartans ahead for good.

Trailing, the offense fumbled and threw an interception on its final two drives.

“No matter how good one side of the ball plays, it’s a team effort,” said senior defensive back Mitch Perez, who knocked down a fourth-down pass in the end zone to give the Coyotes one more shot. “If we lose the game, the team loses. That’s all that matters.”

Their promising start was moot.

With seven guys bunched on the line, two wings on either side, a quarterback who blocks on nearly every play and a running back behind him, the double-wing formation was rolling with its chewing rush attack and opportunistic passing.

The Coyotes needed just four plays to go 19 yards for the score following a pick by linebacker Jayce Neuse in the opening minute. Sophomore Keiran Singh had runs of 7 and 4 yards before pounding into the end zone.

Then they went air — all at once. Kyle Gordon’s 12th passing attempt of the season was a deep 63-yard connection to Singh to give the Coyotes a 12-7 lead with 2:22 left in the first. Nobody appeared within 10 yards of Singh, who hauled in the long pass and veered along the sideline for the score.

The Spartans (2-1) used one score on their last nine drives to emerge victorious.

“The only thing we can do moving forward is work harder all around,” Perez said. “We got things to work on, we got things we did great, but as a team we’ll move forward.”