By Andrea Camarena

After the Monarchs' 39th Valencia Cup victory on Friday, Exeter heads into their first playoff appearance since 2001.

This Friday the Monarchs face Washington Union (6-4) in Fresno in the first round of playoffs.

In their fourth win in a row, the Monarchs fought mercilessly defending the cup in Friday's game and opened with a touchdown on their first possession.

In the 40-7 battle, the Monarchs shut down the Tigers on their first possession, forcing them to hand the ball over to Exeter on their own five yard line. The Monarchs made a quick hard drive from their own 5 when Griffin took the handoff 75 yards to Woodlake's 10 yard line. With 6:30 left on the clock, Eric Capello made a five yard touchdown run to open the Monarchs' TD rally. Capello posted 117 yards rushing against the Tigers on five carries to bring the Monarchs to 333 yards for the game.

The Monarchs held the Tigers as they moved into the second quarter with a close lead of 6-0. Branch widened the spread when he connected with Corey Griffin on a 23 yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of the half. The touchdown followed a Griffin led drive from deep in Monarch territory. An offensive penalty on the TD left Griffin to follow up his six points with a 15 yard run for two.

Griffin received 156 yards to bring his season total to 1,081 yards.

Griffin's and Capello's combined receptions gained 179 yards against Woodlake.

Vincent Pascoe cut through the Woodlake defense to lead the first Monarch drive of the half opening up for a five-yard Denno Daly touchdown rush with 9:28 on the clock.

Eric Capello burst through the Tigers defensive line again on a reverse and 74 yard run up the left side of the field for six more points and followed it up with another two by way of a Branch pitch.

With five minutes left in the third quarter, Morgan Munger grabbed a Woodlake pass to put the ball back in Exeter's hands but Branch turned the ball back over on an intercepted pass.

Munger, Daly and Luis Balderas totaled four interceptions against the Tiger offense and paired it with four sacks by way of Adolfo Hernandez, Salvador Magallon and Tim Priest.

By the final two minutes of the third quarter, Branch decided to hold on to the ball on a 27-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 34-0 to end the half.

Branch totaled 179 yards passing to bring his season total to 1,795.

Denno Daly also came up big on rushing for the Monarchs carrying the ball 17 times for 94 yards against the Tigers.

Vincent Pascoe put away the final TD for the Monarchs to answer the Tigers sole touchdown in the final quarter to end the game at 40-7. Pascoe carried the ball 1-yard for the final Monarch touchdown with six minutes left in the game.

Friday's game put Branch's career passing at 5,500 yards with 46 touchdowns.

Cory Griffin ups his career receptions to 136 and 2,202 yards. Griffin and Branch both hold EUHS career records among the top 10 in section history.

Exeter holds a 1-2 all-time record against Washington Union. Their last meeting was a non-league meeting in Easton in 1996. Washington took the win over Exeter 35-20.

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