California leads early, but falls to Monaca
MONACA – Final scores can be misleading.
Take California’s 38-14 loss at unbeaten and top-seeded Monaca Friday in the opening round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs, for instance.
With a minute left in the first half, the underdog Trojans (5-4) were leading 14-7.
Monaca (10-0), however, scored two touchdowns in the final 53 seconds of the first half and California never recovered.
The loss was the fourth straight for California after opening with five wins under new coach Romaine Howell.
Monaca led 7-0 in the first quarter when Joel McDonald went over from two yards out for the first of his three touchdowns.
California went ahead when Ryan Robinson scored a pair of touchdowns on 35-yard runs within 5:15.
The Trojans threatened again when Robinson intercepted a pass and returned it to the Monaca 10, but an illegal block brought the ball back to the Monaca 44.
The Indians trimmed the margin to 14-13 with 53 seconds left in the half on Eric McPhilomy’s five yard run.
Ricky Schultz threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Andrae Carlisle with nine seconds remaining to put Monaca ahead to stay.
McPhilomy scored from five yards out for the lone touchdown in the third quarter, with McDonald running in from two and 20 yards out in the final period.
Robinson gained 105 yards on 15 carries to finish with 1,042 yards.
McPhilomy (142) and McDonald (104) both ran for more than 100 yards.
The Indians ended up outgaining the Trojans, 329-168.