Monarchs football brings home Valencia Cup

Exeter defeats Woodlake 42-0, brings back Valencia Cup for first time since 2017

WOODLAKE – For 16 straight seasons, the Valencia Cup was collecting dust in the Monarch’s trophy case, as they held on to it for over a decade and a half. However in 2018 and 2019, the Tigers turned the corner with back-to-back wins in the rivalry game that dates back over 100 years. On Friday, Aug. 27, Exeter reasserted their dominance with a 42-point shutout over Woodlake to bring the trophy back home.

Fans from both towns filled the stands at Robinson-Painter Memorial Stadium to enjoy the rivalry game between the two schools that are just 10 miles apart. The Monarchs were coming off a 25-14 win over Liberty in their season opener, and kept the train rolling right through Woodlake. Early in the game they saved their best work for third down as their first two touchdowns were following big conversions. They opened the game on offense and converted a 3rd and 18 pass to sophomore receiver Aidan Robertson who was wide open in the middle of the field. That set up a 20-plus yard touchdown run by senior Jake Rowlett who is in his first full season as starting quarterback. Due to injury to the former starter, Rowlett was thrust into the starting job midway through his sophomore season. Despite not having a junior season, Rowlett says that the game is a lot slower now which makes it easier to make reads and his head coach Kiersten Lamb echoed a similar sentiment. He finished the night with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown.

Following a three and out by the Woodlake offense, Exeter again found themselves in a third and long situation. On third and 12, senior receiver Richard Amaya caught a slant and outran the Tiger defense for a touchdown catch of nearly 50 yards to put his team up 14-0 in the first quarter.

The Woodlake offense struggled to move the ball but their defense gave the team some much needed momentum following a coverage sack on third down in the opening seconds of the second quarter. They stuffed the Monarchs fake punt attempt to give the offense the ball near midfield. The momentum didn’t do much for the offense as they had to punt, but they set up the defense in perfect position as they downed the ball at the one yardline.

While the Woodlake defense was hoping for a safety, the Exeter offense put together one of the most impressive drives they’ll have all season. They could do no wrong as their opponents couldn’t stop the run or pass, and they marched 99-yards for the touchdown to completely deflate the Tiger fans in attendance. They went up 21-0 heading into the break, and the second half was much of the same. Senior Dewayne Coleman got in on the action with two long touchdown runs in the second half, ending the night with 121 yards.

Following their first 2-0 start since 2017, the season goal for the Monarchs is to do big things in the competitive Central Sequoia League (CSL).

“We’ve had a few 1-4 seasons in the CSL and I think this year our plan is to make some noise,” Lamb said. “Obviously you go into every game preparing to win, and we’re going to do that, but we want people to know that you’ve been in a ballgame when you face us, regardless of what the scoreboard says at the end.”

The Monarchs have finished 1-4 in the CSL for four straight seasons. Their best finish of the last decade was 2010 when they finished 5-1 in a three-way tie for first. Their next game is on the road Friday at 7 p.m. against a struggling Lindsay team that has started the season 0-2 with back-to-back losses of at least 29 points.

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