The Monache High School football team was looking to build on the momentum it built last week when it picked up its first East Yosemite League win against Delano. Monache started strong but ended up falling 35-3 to the visiting Tulare Western Mustangs, who needed a win to stay in EYL championship contention, on Friday at Rankin Stadium.
After neither team scored on their opening drive MHS would force and recover a Mustang fumble on tits own 35. The offense would put together a 10 play drive using the legs of David Leyva and Brysn Hornsby to push the ball inside the Tulare Western 10. But the drive would stall and Monache was forced to settle for 3 as Tony Castillo split the uprights from 27 yards out to give Monache a 3-0 lead.
The Monache defense continued to dominate into the second quarter, forcing a turnover on downs at its own 40. But the Marauders would give the ball right back on the next play as a trick play ended up with receiver Mark Cullwel trying to find quarterback Brysn Hornsby on a reverse pass that was intercepted by the Mustangs. Five plays and 1:55 later Mustang quarterback Carmine Ficher would hit Andrew Maciel on a wide receiver screen that resulted in a 23 yard scoring strike. Bryson Ball would make the PAT to put the Mustangs up 7-3.
Monache would threaten on its next possession, using the legs and arm of Hornsby and a great diving catch by Cullwel to drive inside the Western red zone but the Marauders would turn it over on downs when Hornsby's fourth down pass fell incomplete.
Western would then march 86 yards on 13 plays covering 3:47, scoring on a Damion Bello 5 yard run. Once again Ball would make the PAT to put the Mustangs up 14-3 at the half.
Monache would get the ball to start the second half and after an illegal crackback block nullified a great Hornsby first down run Monache was forced to punt. The Mustangs would then go 61 yards on 12 plays that ended with Ficher throwing a 22 yard pass down the seem to Jaanveer Bhagtana. After the PAT Western had opened a 21-3 lead.
Monache's offense couldn’t get anything going in the second half as it was held to only 48 yards and the Mauraders turned it over on downs four separate times in the game.
The Mustangs would add two more second half scores, one on a pass from Carmine Ficher to his brother Malachi Ficher and the other on a Bello 5 yard TD run.
The Marauders fall to 4-5 on the season and are 1-3 in EYL play. They will look to gain some momentum going into the playoffs in next week's Granite Bowl where Monache will look to avenge a 61-6 loss at the hands of its cross town rival Porterville the last time the two teams met in 2019.