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Wildcats Have Revenge On The Mind

Monrovia travels to San Dimas on Saturday in a CIF-SS Mid-Valley Div. championship game rematch

It's not the game they've been waiting for all year. It's just the most important one so far.

The Wildcats are a win away from playing in the Mid-Valley Division championship game in the CIF Southern Section playoffs. To be the champs, though, you have to knock out the champs.

And the champs are here. San Dimas comes into the semifinal game with an 8-4 record and hopes of winning a second straight title.

Monrovia is 10-2 with a hole in its heart from last year's championship game.

"It's very important," Wildcats quarterback Nick Bueno said. "We want to play them for revenge."

The revenge Bueno speaks of is the 12-7 defeat Monrovia suffered in last year's Mid-Valley championship game.

San Dimas has been a thorn in Monrovia's side all season. The Wildcats had an opportunity for some payback earlier this year.

But even that effort was wasted as Monrovia squandered a 28-7 lead and went on to lose to San Dimas in overtime.

Heartbreak again.

"We thought we had the game last time so we need to get ready mentally and play all four quarters," defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy said.

Senior fullback Christian Blanco said that the team needs to "keep playing the game like it's 0-0."

Bueno, also a senior, agreed.

"We need to remember not to let up," he said. "The game's never over 'til the final whistle is blown."

This is the fourth time Monrovia will play San Dimas in the last two years. The teams met in a non-league game last year in September with Monrovia coming away victorious, 36-17.

Since then, the Wildcats have had nothing but bad endings when they've squared off with the Saints.

Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said there's no advantage playing a team that they're familiar with.

"The advantage goes both ways," Maddox said. "They know us and we know them. I'm sure they'll have some wrinkles for us. I was talking to (San Dimas) coach (Bill) Zernickow and we said it's almost like we're in the same league since we play each other so much."

Last season Monrovia and San Dimas finished the year 13-1. Both losses were to each other.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that blemish occurred in the title game.

This year, Wildcats players have pointed out the disappointment they still feel from the championship game loss.

Bueno, Monrovia's biggest offensive threat, said he doesn't want to have that feeling of coming so close and losing.

Overconfidence hasn't been an issue in the playoffs despite being the favorite to win it all. At this point in the season, blown leads, bad weather — which was the case in the title game against San Dimas — or any other excuses won't cut it.

The seniors know that Saturday could be the last time they put on a Monrovia uniform.

"It's the CIF semifinals," Maddox said. "It's the step to making the finals. Our goal was to win the CIF title all year. This is the next step in that and we're excited to have the opportunity for that."

McCarthy, who's a junior, says the team is hungry to notch a win at San Dimas.

"It's really important to win and we're working very hard this week to try to beat them," he said. "I don't want to take another loss and neither does the team. We're working hard every chance we get to beat them and advance to the next round."

Practice has been spirited this week despite the temperature dropping after the sun goes down. As the Wildcats ran sprints at the end of practice there was an extra bounce in their steps.

Defeating San Dimas on the way to the title would provide closure for last season.

"We can't take San Dimas lightly," Maddox said. "Not that we did in the CIF finals. It's got more meaning to it. The kids just have to relax and play football the way they have all year."

Tim Macias December 04, 2010 at 10:45 PM
Lets go out there and play with a ton of fire and intensity tonight, When we get them on the run we need to keep them on the run. Lets go Wildcats!

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