Exeter drops to 0-4 at home since opening million-dollar stadium in 34-6 loss to Chowchilla
By Patrick Dillon
EXETER – The Monarchs’ quest for their first win in their new stadium continues. Their most recent loss was a 34-6 debacle to the Chowchilla Tribe came last Friday.
“Is it a hex? I don’t know,” Exeter head coach Keirsten Lamb said. “We just have to keep getting better at what we do, and tonight we were not good.”
The Tribe’s offense from their shotgun wing style formation was simple yet effective. They ran mostly a read-option or off tackle run plays on their way to amassing 298 yards on the ground. Quarterback Cody Woolsey led the Tribe with 17 carries for 76 yards and had both the team’s rushing touchdowns. All that running sucked the Monarchs’ defense closer to the line of scrimmage and allowed Woolsey to have free range in their passing attack as well. He went 10-13 for 120 yards and three more scores.
While the constant use of the same plays was successful it did make the Tribe predictable. Many times, the Monarchs’ defense was in the right spot to make the tackle only to have the ball carrier break free because of poor technique.
In the second quarter with the Tribe threating inside the red zone to score to go up 14-0 came the Monarchs’ worst tackling example of the evening. The Tribe receiver slipped at the 9 yard line near the boundary after catching the ball on an out pattern from Woolsey. Four Monarchs converged on him hoping to stop him for a minimal gain, but the receiver broke through all the would-be tacklers and three more before he stepped out of bounds at the 2 yard line. Two plays later the Tribe scored. At the time the score put the Tribe ahead 14-0.
“We had guys in spots to make plays and they just did not make them,” Lamb said. “We need to be more physical and we are going to be working on that from here on out.”
Coach Lamb said it’s not just his defense that need to be more physical but his offense. The Monarchs’ offense amassed only 160 yards of total offense. The only constant production came from Nathaniel Heath at running back. He rushed 24 times for 115 yards. Even when the Tribe began to key on him Heath continued to gain as many yards as he could.The Monarchs’ downfall offensively came when they needed to put the ball in the air to spread the Tribe defense out. Quarterback Jaykob Acosta and his receivers never seemed to get on the same page on passing routes despite throwing the ball more than any game this season. He went 6-17 for 28 yards and an interception.
Oddly enough the Monarchs only score came through the air on their last drive. Chris Lopez replaced Acosta under center and capped off his first drive with a 17-yard score to Teneil Nichols.
They have gone 0-4 since the million-dollar facility was opened. Granted Exeter’s two loses in 2017 were at the hands of two section title runners-ups. This is the Monarchs second loss at home this season after losing to Woodlake 28-15 in week two.
Yes, the Monarchs avoided being shutout for the first time this season but a silver lining occurred after the final whistle. In the post-game team meeting Elijah Rippee addressed his team and told them they had to come together with Central Sequoia League play beginning this week. The response from his 37 other teammates was lackluster with only two teammates agreeing with him.
“I am proud of him,” Lamb said. “He spoke the truth right there. It’s either we are a family, or we are not.”
Leadership is something the Monarchs have lacked this season. They will have to find it quick as league play begins Friday with a road trip to face the Kingsburg Vikings at 7:30 p.m.