By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
WOODLAKE – The longest winning streak of any high school football team against one opponent in the foothills area is alive and well. For the 15th straight season, the Exeter Monarchs were victorious over the Woodlake Tigers in their annual Valencia Cup rivalry game, this time 35-7.
“The streak is something that we want to keep going,” said Exeter head coach Keirsten Lamb. “But every Friday night is a big game to us. So this is just one day at a time.”
One of the oldest rivalries in the section, both the Monarchs (2-0) and the Tigers (1-1) brought back the old ways of playing the game — not with the arm of the quarterback, but with the legs of their running backs — as both tried to establish their running attack.
“Right from the very beginning, we’ve wanted to bring back the old style of Exeter smash mouth football,” said Coach Lamb.
Statistically, it was the Tigers who had the better night on the ground with 183 yards, but it was the Monarchs who used their 94 rushing yards to their advantage.
On their first drive, Exeter utilized their corps of running backs and marched down the field close to the Tigers’ red zone. But when the Monarchs’ drive stalled at the Tigers’ 30 yard line, Coach Lamb decided to put the ball in the hands of his quarterback Josiah Martinez on fourth and 15 instead of kicking for a field goal.
Coach Lamb sent one of his most talented receivers, Christian Genetti, up the sideline toward the end zone. Martinez saw that he had a step on his man and delivered a perfect pass for the game’s first score.
Genetti got his second score of the game, this time along the ground, when he took a 19-yard sweep up the near side line. The Monarchs tried for a two-point conversion but failed, keeping the score 13-0 at the end the of the first quarter.
“We had a great win,” said Genetti. “Our team worked together, our line blocked and it was a great win.”
To go with the game’s first two scores, Genetti led the Monarchs in both rushing and receiving with 34 and 38 yards respectively.
The fourth quarter held the last score for the Monarchs’ offense. With the Tigers continually loading the box with nine defensive players, a 25-yard pass from Martinez to Jeremiah Doyal made it 35-0.
In between Genetti’s last score and Doyal’s touchdown the Monarchs’ defense and special teams took over scoring responsibilities.
In the second quarter Woodlake set up for a drive from their own 20 yard line. Tigers quarterback Henry Hagen fumbled the snap from the shotgun formation. There to scoop it up was Exeter’s Anthony Torres, who ran it in for the score.
In the third quarter, the Tigers attempted to punt the ball away while backed up against their own end zone. Exeter brought every man and blocked the attempt and fell on the ball in the end zone.
Missteps like that plagued the Tigers all evening with a total of three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception.
The lone bright spot for the Tigers came in the fourth quarter when Hagen kept the ball on a read-option and ran 47 yards up the near side line for his team’s only score.
“I love that we got the touchdown run, but it’s kind of like kissing your cousin,” said Woodlake head coach Jeff Johnson.
Up next for the Tigers is a Farmersville Aztecs team that has lost the first two games of the season next Friday night at 7 p.m.
For the Monarchs, they will hit the road this Thursday night to play the McLane Highlanders with kick off at 7 p.m. The Highlanders are coming off a week one 55-14 loss to the Hanford West Huskies.