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Spring Football: Monrovia Looking to Continue Winning Ways

Ellis McCarthy is enough reason to be optimistic the Wildcats can be contenders again.

Some of the names and faces will have changed when the Monrovia football team hits the gridiron this fall.

But one thing that the Wildcats don’t want to see a change in is the end to their season.

Monrovia is coming off a 12-2 season that saw it win the CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division title – the school’s first division title in its history.

“That’s going to be our standard every year,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “But with each year we’ve got a new team we have to gel together. Repeating as a CIF champion is never going to be easy. Teams are going to be gunning for us and we’re not going to take that lightly.”

The Wildcats have finished spring practice and appear to be headed toward another successful season. A big reason for the optimism is because of the Wildcats' monsterous defensive tackle in Ellis McCarthy, who was an All-CIF selection last year.

McCarthy, who is listed 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, is the nation’s sixth best prospect in the Class of 2012 according to Rivals.com and already has offers from the University of Southern California, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Florida among other top tier programs.

“Ellis has attracted quite a bit of attention,” Maddox said. “He has offers from almost everybody in the Pac-12 and then from across the nation.”

Replacing quarterback Nick Bueno would figure to be difficult since he ran and passed for more 3,000 combined yards, but the Wildcats appear to be well covered. Junior-to-be George Frazier (6-foot-2, 220 pounds), who was an All-CIF linebacker last season, is expected to become the starter and will go both ways, according to Maddox.

Senior Shaun Reilly is pressing Frazier for playing time at quarterback and appears to have a good command of the offense if he is pressed into duty.

“We were pretty balanced last year,” Maddox said of his team’s running and passing game. “We want to keep it balanced. We like to try to keep the defenses guessing.”

At running back the Wildcats will have seniors Michael Harris and Marquise Bias returning. Harris ran for 314 yards and six touchdowns last year, while Bias accounted for 208 yards and one TD.

The receiver corps will have to replaced Jay Henderson, who caught 10 touchdowns last year. Senior Luke Williams caught 20 balls last year and figures to lead the group, while junior Anthony Craft and senior Brandon Wingenbach will also be in the mix.

Senior Levi Helm is a tight end/defensive end who is also a target.

Maddox likes his offensive line group that features seniors Henry Crane (6-3, 245) and Clayton Taggert (6-2, 290) and junior Isaac Miravet (6-3, 255).  

“We’re going to work hard and we have to get better each week like we did last year,” Maddox said. “There’s some tough teams in our division so it’s not going to be a free reign.”

Lorenzo Casas (5-10, 250) is another top defensive lineman. Frazier and junior Brett Walsh (6-2, 190) are expected to be the leaders of the linebackers.

Craft, who earned All-CIF honors last year as a sophomore, leads the secondary.

With a few months to go before the season starts it is difficult to see how the Wildcats will do. But early signs appear to show that there will be many smiles across town this fall.

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