One Year Ago: Lions State Their Case, 30-18

Huge game from Davon Booth to lead the Lions. (Photo by Duane Barker)

Our “One Year Ago” series moves into the State Playoffs. Davon Booth ran wild as El Monte’s perfect season continued with a win over Serra (San Diego) in the 5-AA Regional State Bowl. Tim Peterson wrote the game story and Duane Barker took the pictures as the Lions advanced to the State Final on Friday night December 6, 2019.

By Tim Peterson
(El Monte) – Davon Booth rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns to lead El Monte to a 30-18 win over visiting Serra (San Diego) in the Division 5-AA Regional State Bowl Friday night.

Booth had plenty of help in the ground game as Abel Cueva also racked up 110 yards and a touchdown rushing.

“It’s no secret what we’re going to do. We’re going to line up and run the ball right at you,” said El Monte head coach Jesse Ceniceros. “I give credit to all of them. Davon Booth is the most underrated back in Southern California. But not just credit to him but to the line as well.”

The Lions saw their lead cut to 22-18 early in the fourth quarter when Dustan Ellison scored on a four-yard run to cap a nine play, 98 yard drive for Serra. This came after Serra stopped El Monte at the two-yard line on fourth down.

El Monte then put together a march of its own to ice the game. The Lions went 12 plays on 65 yards, burning over seven minutes off the clock, to go up 30-18. Booth finished it with a three-yard run and then ran in the two-point conversion with 4:15 left.

For good measure Booth picked off Serra quarterback Timmy Zebroski on the next series. The Lions, with another big run by Booth, drove down to the Serra six-yard line where they took a knee and touched off the celebration.

Outstanding game from Abel Cueva as well for the Lions. (Photo by Duane Barker)

The two teams traded punches early. Willie Peterson scored on a 23 yard touchdown run on Serra’s opening drive for a 6-0 lead. El Monte countered with a 20 yard TD jaunt by Booth to cap a seven-play, 60-yard march on its first possession.

The Lions blocked a Serra punt early in the second quarter to set up a two-yard touchdown run by Booth and a two-point run to make it 14-6.

Ellison broke off a 51-yard touchdown scamper on the next series but the two point attempt failed and the Conquistadors were still down 14-12.

Later in the quarter Serra marched all the way down to the El Monte one-yard line but Peterson was stuffed at the goal line by the Lions front on fourth down. However Joseph Herrera was intercepted just before halftime and the Lions took the two point lead into the break.

Cueva got loose for his biggest run of the game – a 52-yard touchdown sprint in the third quarter to give El Monte a 22-12 lead. Serra stopped El Monte at the two-yard line and then answered with that length of the field march to get within four.

The Lions then came back with the knockout punch. El Monte only threw the ball three times in the contest with Herrera completing one to Booth, while racking up 433 yards on the ground.

For Serra Ellison was the leading rusher with 168 yards on 15 carries. Peterson had 41 overall. Serra finished 11-3 on the season.

The Lions, now 15-0, will travel up north to play in the State Bowl championship.

“Yeah, I heard we’re going to Oregon,” Ceniceros said with a smile.

Well not quite but El Monte will be traveling up to Crescent City, California next weekend for the championship game.

16 Comments to "One Year Ago: Lions State Their Case, 30-18"

  1. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 8, 2020 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t they say San Jose?

  2. NWO's Gravatar NWO
    December 7, 2020 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Where did Booth end up?

  3. Jerry Urias's Gravatar Jerry Urias
    December 8, 2019 - 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Great job EM! What an amazing accomplishment, you guys have made your city proud! Keep up the great job and get this state championship. Coach C and staff and have been a fan from a far, you guys have done a great job from the start. Don’t let the hate bother you guys, it comes with the territory. Keep it going!

  4. ?'s Gravatar ?
    December 8, 2019 - 2:14 am | Permalink

    @Anon: You are like the girl that has a tatted up, wife beater wearing boyfriend that slaps her around huh? Not happy unless you are abused.

  5. Really?'s Gravatar Really?
    December 8, 2019 - 1:25 am | Permalink

    Congrates Lions! Well done Coach Cineceros. The use of the old Double Wing then the sudden change to the Gun Wing really threw Serra for a loop. You could see the confusion in the faces of the their players on what to do was priceless. You will now be facing a Double Wing team in Crescent City. The Good news is that the 16-18 hour bus ride there will be followed by a game that will be completed in 1 hour and 20 minutes including halftime show. Then hopefully a grand celebratory ride back for the same amount of time back.

  6. December 7, 2019 - 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know what the MVL record for most rushing yards in a single season is? Booth has got to be getting close to whatever it is if he he hasn’t passed it yet. If anyone can get that info I owe you a cold brewski

  7. LVLions's Gravatar LVLions
    December 7, 2019 - 8:47 pm | Permalink

    And the defense does their thing again with their fourth goal line stance of the playoffs. This is a historic run that no football program has seen in the SGV in years.

  8. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 7, 2019 - 6:14 pm | Permalink

    What? No negative comments about EM yet! Get off your backsides haters!

  9. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    December 7, 2019 - 1:46 pm | Permalink

    What a great game I know Devon and Cuevas get all the attention but how bout that defense

  10. maria medina's Gravatar maria medina
    December 7, 2019 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    So proud of these boys and coaches….you put to rest all those NAYsayers. Now one more game to go and it will be ALL yours. You got this El Monte Lions!!!!

  11. Happy For Them's Gravatar Happy For Them
    December 7, 2019 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    The best indicator that El Monte isn’t going to be denied a state title is the play of their linemen. THAT’S where football is won or lost, up front. Best of luck next week.

  12. mr power's Gravatar mr power
    December 7, 2019 - 9:26 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful display of blocking the O line, Tight Ends, and Fullback put on display last night. It was really great to see. Serra was bigger and faster than El Monte. On the last two drives of the night the offense was blowing guys 10- 15 yards downfield. Truly wonderful! Hats off to El Monte!

    I don’t know much about the Crescent City team. I do know North Coast football and the teams up there are tough, hard nosed, and sound.

  13. Areafan's Gravatar Areafan
    December 7, 2019 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    Man this was a great battle, both teams played tuff. Booth and Cuevas where awesome, but why does now one talk about the defense. This defense has stopped so many teams on the goal line to change the momentum. All year the running backs have be as advertised but I think the defense gets over looked.

  14. Go Stangs's Gravatar Go Stangs
    December 7, 2019 - 8:56 am | Permalink

    Winning a state semifinal (the “bowl” name is stupid) will hopefully erase the asterisk that some morons thought belonged by their Southern Section title. Good luck in Crescent City next week!

    (On that note, California is so damn long that these games should be held in neutral sites. Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose, East Bay…that makes a lot more sense than sending an LA team to Del Norte County or a Humboldt team to the OC.)

  15. One Proud Fan's Gravatar One Proud Fan
    December 7, 2019 - 3:22 am | Permalink

    Lions, you have quiet all those haters that thought you didn’t deserve to win Div 12 Championship. Proud of all you guys and let all those haters that talked so negative about you guys eat their words… let’s get it all and bring the state trophy to EL.

  16. Pac 5 Scout's Gravatar Pac 5 Scout
    December 7, 2019 - 1:50 am | Permalink

    The Lions better leave in the morning if the plan to get to Crescent City in time for the game. What a joke making the fans of El Monte have to trek 900 miles to a small town on the coast of Oregon. No airports nearby. They should charter the Queen Mary.

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