While most high school teams were heading into the locker rooms and fans hit the road to head back home, in Exeter, fans were glued to their seats and the players were getting ready for overtime. With the game tied at 34-34 at the end of regulation, both Exeter and Bakersfield Christian were set to go another quarter. Austin Cardoza would get the Monarchs on the board in overtime when he punched it in from 9 yards out for the touchdown. With Juan Castillo making the extra point, it was all up to the defense to slow down the Eagles offense. Bakersfield Christian would break free for a 14 yard touchdown run to put the Eagles down by one. If Bakersfield Christian kicks the point after attempt and makes it, then the game would go into a third overtime. The Eagles head coach decides to go for a two point conversion. It was a decision that paid off for the Eagles as Bakersfield Christian’s quarterback would find an open receiver in the back of the end zone to seal the victory.

“We are getting the most out of what we got. We have a lot of things we have to work on and we are still young, but we did work and we tried as hard as we could,” said Monarchs head coach Ben White.

Working hard might just be an understatement for what the Monarchs did all night long. In the first quarter the Monarchs would find themselves in an early hole as the Eagles would get in the end zone first to take the early 7-0 lead.

But the Monarchs faught hard and marched down the field in the beginning of the second quarter. Exeter’s Cody Tilly would connect with Austin Cardoza for a 21 yard touchdown pass, making it 7-6 Eagles after a failed point after attempt.

Less than a minute after the Monarchs score, the Eagles would march right down the field and punch it in for a one yard touchdown run to make it 13-6. The Eagles did not convert their point after attempt so it stayed 13-6.

With just under two minutes to play in the first half, both teams exploded and it became like a heavy weight fight with both teams exchanging touchdowns. First Exeter’s Austin Cardoza found the end zone once again to pull the game close at 13-12. Again Bakersfield Christian would answer right back, this time it was a 66 yard touchdown pass. After the PAT was good it gave the Eagles the 20-12 lead. Now with 20 seconds left in the first half, Exeter’s Cody Tilly would connect with Alex Cortez with a 42 yard touchdown pass to make it 20-18. Exeter would go for the two point conversion and tie the game up when Austin Cardoza ran his way in from two yards out.

Then in the third quarter it was the tail of the sophomore running backs. Bakersfield Christian’s talented running back powered his way into the end zone to give the Eagles the lead once again at 27-20. Not wanting to be left out, Exeter’s talented sophomore running back showed he can do the same as Cardoza powered his way into the end zone from 8 yards out to tie the game up once again at 27-27. Exeter would take their first lead of when Matt Morris would rush 31 yards for the touchdown to give the Monarchs the 34-27 lead late in the third quarter. With less than eight minutes left to play in the game the Eagles would tie the game up with a 34 yard touchdown pass to make it 34-34. That scoring drive would send the game into overtime.

On the night Austin Cardoza had a great night and was a big part of why the Monarchs were staying close in the game. Cardoza would finish the night with three touchdowns and he ran for 103 yards on 22 attempts. As for Bakersfield Christian’s talented running back, the sophomore ended the night with 192 yards on the ground in 26 attempts, but was only able to get one touchdown. “Their running back is probably going to become a division 1 running back, we made some adjustment and we played better in the second half,” said White.

The Monarchs will have short week this week as they will be playing on Thursday night against Mission Oaks in Tulare. The Monarchs are now 2-2 on the season and are looking good heading into league play in a couple of weeks. The big test to see how good this Monarch team can be will be on Thursday.

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