By Tim Peterson
(El Monte) – Arroyo survived two missed field goals, a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a fourth quarter deficit to beat South El Monte 14-13 Friday night at B.L. Bergstrom Stadium.
With the victory the Knights remained unbeaten at 7-0 while South dropped its first game falling to 6-1. The Eagles led 13-7 after Gaspar Beltran kicked a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Arroyo took the lead for good on an Ernesto Camacho two-yard plunge with 4:51 left in the contest. The Knights then held on to survive. Camacho capped a 53-yard, six-play drive that was highlighted by a 22-yard pass play from Camacho to Daniel Mendoza.
South El Monte then fumbled the ensuing kickoff setting the Knights up at the Eagle 25. But four plays later a 26-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. It was the second missed field goal of the night for Arroyo as a 30-yarder earlier missed its mark.
South finally did get the ball back with 1:30 left at its own 20 but the Arroyo defense held on not allowing the Eagles past the 39 yard line.
The Arroyo offense wasn’t its usual self as the Knights punted six times overall including four in the first half. South El Monte booted the ball away four times but also turned it over three times, including the fumble on the kick off and once on an Arroyo punt. However neither time did the Knights take advantage.
Arroyo got on the board first needing just three plays to go 38 yards after a short South El Monte punt. A 35-yard run by Steven Ocariz set up a five-yard touchdown run by Ocariz with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
Beltran booted a 28-yard field goal later in the quarter to make it 7-3. It stayed that way until halftime.
Jarvis Alexander Godinez sent a jolt through B.L. Bergstrom early in the third quarter when he returned a punt 52-yards for a score to give South a 10-7 lead. Beltran then hit his field goal in the fourth for the six point advantage until Arroyo rallied.
Sal Tovar had 113 yards on 22 carries for South El Monte but he was kept out of the end zone. Tovar also intercepted Camacho. Daniel Olmos rushed for 64 yards on nine carries and threw for 52 as the Eagle offense managed just a pair of field goals.
Camacho threw for 113 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Ocariz had 18 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown.
“When you hold those guys to six points, you should win the game. And that’s what our defense did today. I was happy with that. Holding that group to two field goals, that was a big effort by these guys on defense. Defensively they deserved this one,” said Arroyo Coach Jim Singiser. “I thought it was going to be a tight game. It’s always a tough game when we play those guys. It’s a physical game. It’s a rivalry game. We’ll take this win and get ready for El Monte.”
Next up for unbeaten Arroyo is the Lions at home. South El Monte will have a bye next week before facing Rosemead on October 20.