(South El Monte)- How ugly was this game at times? If you want a mental picture for starters try an offensive lineman in a two piece bathing suit and you’ll have an idea of how ugly South El Monte’s 28-16 victory was over Nogales Friday night at “The Swamp”.
In darkness there can be light, and in ugly every once in a while beauty can break through.
On the Eagles second possession Javier Machuca slipped inside a Nobles defender on a post route where quarterback Fernando Ramirez hit him in stride with a rocket and 55-yards later it was 7-0 South.
Nogales answered in kind on a 17-yard pass from Nephi Tofiga to Errol Romney in the second quarter and the game was tied.
Diego Lopez’s 34-yard field goal to start the third quarter was beautiful as the Nobles took a 10-7 lead.
Six minutes later every football fan in America would have rubber necked to see Southman Dominic Munoz’s 40-yard run to paydirt to make it 14-10 in favor of the home team.
The Eagles followed the go ahead score with a goal line stand to stunt a Nogales drive that covered 69 yards and 13 plays early in the fourth quarter.
With the South El Monte offense marooned at its own one with 10:10 to play the Nobles Alejandro Valdivia dove into the end zone to grab a loose ball and Nogales was back on top 16-14.
For the next five minutes it looked as though the Eagles cause was lost. After going three and out on consecutive series, they got the ball back a third time in the fourth quarter at their own 20 with 4:55 to play.
With 4:34 to play Jesus Machuca crossed the goal line after covering 65-yards on a reverse for what would be the winning touchdown.
The Southmen added the capper when Pablo Ocegueda (2 Ints) intercepted a Tofiga pass and returned it 26-yards for the games final score.
So it wasn’t all ugly, but the rest was. In the in between Nogales had four passes intercepted, a field goal blocked, two missed field goals, a missed extra-point, twice turned the ball over on downs, once at the goal line, and committed a ‘false start’ penalty on third and goal at the one. The versatile Keith Boldin, who came in with over 400 yards of total offence and eight touchdowns, never got on track.
In the in between for South El Monte were three blocked punts, two fumbles, two interceptions, two snaps launched over the quarterback’s head, and countless snaps to the punter that rolled, went wide, or were generally brutal in delivery. They also lost Ramirez to injury late in the first half. Henry Mascorro finished the game at quarterback.
It was following the Eagles goal line stand when Munoz was trapped in the end zone by Nobles’ linebacker Joe Ledesma for an apparent safety, Munoz attempted to flip the ball away. It was here Valdivia dove to a spot just across the goal to snare the ball and give his team a 16-14 advantage. The point after was missed.
Note; the goal line stand was aided by a Nogales false start on third and goal at the one.
This set up Jesus Machuca’s 65-yard scoring run.
“It was an option out of our two back set, it was just a reverse.” said South El Monte HC Ibis Aguilar. “The first half killed us but we’ve been a second half team all three weeks. Our defense saved us, they did a great job.”
South is now 3-0 while Nogales dropped to 2-2.