By Patrick Dillon @pdillon_sgn
VISALIA– For the second time in three years the Exeter Monarchs will not be going to the playoffs. Their fates were sealed last Friday as they were overpowered by the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers 70-12.
“I expected us to play a little bit better than we did,” Exeter head coach Keirsten Lamb said.
Similar to most of the Monarchs’ (2-7; 1-4) games this season they found themselves trailing early. The Cavaliers (8-2; 4-1) scored on their opening drive. Brian Noel connected with Eric Dragt for a 31-yard touchdown.
The Monarchs attempted to respond but the Cavaliers’ athleticism kept Exeter’s attack at bay. On the second play of the Exeter’s ensuing drive a pass from Jaykob Acosta was intercepted and returned for 41-yard score. Those two scores were only the beginning of what turned into a quarter which saw the Cavaliers put up 35 unanswered points.
“We did have moments and opportunities to do things right,” coach Lamb said.
Exeter did take advantage of a couple opportunities in the second quarter which got them on the board. Nathaniel Heath capped off the Monarchs’ opening drive with a 22-yard run to put them on the board 6-35.
At the end of the quarter Acosta made good on the interception he threw earlier by hooking up with Teneil Nichols for a 44-yard touchdown toss. Acosta’s touchdown pass was the longest play of the night as he went 7-19 for 83 yards and a touchdown.
However, their efforts were ineffective as the Cavaliers scored three times in between the Monarchs two scores making the halftime score 56-12. Often times throughout the game Lamb found himself looking down at his playbook scratching his head trying to find out what to run.
Heath led the Monarchs’ ground game with 13 carries for 72 yards and the lone touchdown.
As the Monarchs’ 2018 season draws to a close coach Lamb is already looking toward next season and the laundry list of things the Monarchs need to get better. According to coach Lamb the biggest item he and his coaching staff needs to address this offseason is the team’s awareness during certain situations on the field. Coach Lamb plans on having his players watch a lot of film as well as running situation specific drills during practices.
“Everything is borrowed or stolen from someone else now, so we just have to know what is going on,” coach Lamb said.
The second is the team’s physicality. A drop off this year led to many of the Monarchs’ difficulties on the defensive side of the ball, including one of the worse tackling seasons in recent seasons. Coach Lamb plans on having his players hit the weight room this off season and do more live drills during practice.
“When it comes down to it there are certain fundamental things that we must be good at in order to be successful,” coach Lamb said.