CIF Division 4 Championship: Monte Vista Monarchs 71, San Diego Cavers 48

If insanity is repeating the same action over again, then we are the insane ones in the eyes of Ron Hamamoto.

For the third team, he’s done the same action – take a team to Titletown.
Hamamoto’s Monte Vista Monarchs are the Division IV champions after a barnstorming 71 to 48 victory over the San Diego Cavers.
"Winning the championship with such a young group is a great feeling," Hamamoto said. "I’m just very lucky….very blessed."
To the surprise of no one, junior Jahmon McClendon lead the way again. To the surprise of everyone, a CIF record set three weeks ago has a new member to its club. The Monarch standout tied Dorian Richardson’s mark of eight touchdowns in a single game.
"The gameplan was to play hard," McClendon said."We wanted to run ‘two power right’ and that’s exactly what we did."
The physical Monarchs left their mark early, as two McClendon touchdowns left the Cavers in a 14-0 hole.
But anyone who’s seen these 2017 Cavers knew that wouldn’t be enough to kill the neanderthal on this night, one that Caver alumni have been waiting since 1969 for.
Quarterback Quinn O’Connor got to work, first finding Jayden Wickware, then going twice to Daniel Thomas, a man who only needed one hand to score two times.
"Keep your heads up," Cavers head coach Charles James said. "We’ll be back."
The Cavers had the weapons on Friday night, they just didn’t have the best one.
McClendon would visit the end zone two more times in the second quarter, including a diving effort into the east end zone that would see him leave the game momentarily with a concussion.
The pain would come back again as he noticeably cramped up in the third.
McClendon would fight through it to cross the goal line four more times, and to put the county on alert – the best player in the East County may not wear green.
"We worked hard because at the beginning of the season we said we were going to win the CIF," McClendon said."And that’s what we did."

Preview: Ron Hamamoto knows that he’s ruined the fairytale.

"I remember hearing Paul Rudy say on KUSI what a story it would be to see San Diego and UC in the final," the Monte Vista coach said with a happy smirk.

Don’t get the coaching legend wrong. Hamamoto is happy to be here in the Division IV final with his fourth seeded Monarchs. But real joy won’t arrive for his Spring Valley crew until they get to lift a trophy.

The object standing in the way of a first title since 2003 is a perfect team that hasn’t seen one since 1969.

"It was an amazing feeling," San Diego head coach Charles James said. "You see the kids crying…you see how much it means to so many people."

It’s a story of overcoming obstacles for both squads. James pulled San Diego from the depths, and after winning just three games in his first two years on the job, the team is unbeaten for the first time in a century.

That’s not hyperbole. That’s how old these institutions are.

"Everyone’s cheering for them since they’re perfect for the first time since 1804 or something," Hamamoto joked.

Monte Vista doesn’t have perfection, but they have players. Their best is in the backfield. Jahmon McClendon looks like a game changer in East County, with his six-foot-two, 210 pound frame reminding PPR fans of Patrick Henry star Dominick Silvels. The defense racked up three sacks and three picks on University City, and the best run of the game belongs to McClendon, breaking three tackles in the span of five yards on the way to the end zone. His only crime? A hurdle that isn’t allowed, but looked most spectacular of all.

He’ll have to hurdle all the elements this time around – the trio of Earth, Wind and Fire want to bring a trophy home.

"We only play four or five seniors," Hamamoto said. "Hopefully they’re too young to be nervous."

Categories: 2014 PPR Archive, 2015 PPR Archive, 2016 PPR Features Part 1, 2016 PPR Features Part 2, 2016 PPR Features Part 3