Monticello’s defense had something to prove. So did Monticello’s offense.
“They said we weren’t playing any good teams, we had to prove we were worth it,” said defensive back Trenton Johnson.
So they went to work on proving they were worth it. And Friday they were worth it.
“Everyone coming into this game saying we haven’t played anyone and our offense isn’t going to do things like we’ve done all year,” said senior quarterback Kevin Jarrell. “I think we answered that.”
They answered it by beating Albemarle on the road 49-33 for a statement win over the Patriots, jumping out to a 28-0 lead in the first half and only briefly looking back while moving to 5-0 on the season. In just a year, the Mustangs have gone from 3-7 to an early frontrunner in the Jefferson District race thanks in particular to a defensive turnaround that continued in the first half Friday, producing three turnovers.
“From where we were a year ago, I really am (pleased),” said Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd. “That’s a really talented group over there offensively, that kid is hard to get on the ground. We’ve got some special kids.”
Those turnovers helped the Mustangs jump out to a 28-0 lead, with Austin Haverstrom, Jerrick Ayers and Jarrell all scoring on the ground. Jarrell got in twice before the break, including a 5-yard touchdown with just 20 seconds left in the half. Jarrell finished with 183 yards and the two scores on the ground (averaging 8.0 yards per carry) as well as 131 yards and two touchdowns through the air, both in the wild second half. In the process, he surpassed Takeem Hedgeman as the school’s all-time total offense leader with 6,488 career yards.
“We had three rough drives defense and offense beginning of the second half, but we did a great job coming back out, did a great job up front, ran some clock and just made plays,” Jarrell said.
He also stepped in at safety, a role the Mustangs have considered all year, but haven’t used extensively until this clash with the Patriots, and it made for a long game for Monticello coach Jeff Lloyd.
“I hate it, I don’t want him over there,” Lloyd said. “There’s certain times, in big games where he’s going to have to do that for us because he’s probably our second or third best cover kid. I basically put him out there and close my eyes.”
Albemarle refused to go quietly and came out and scored two quick touchdowns in the second half, with J’Quan Anderson throwing one to DaQuandre Taylor before Taylor sprinted in for one of his own with 5:41 left in the third, cutting the lead to 28-14 Monticello.
“They jumped on us and executed at a very high level, they were hungry,” said Albemarle coach Brandon Isaiah. “Then we shot ourselves in the foot several times and made it worse. I’m proud of how they fought in the second half and we’re just going to keep working at this thing. Everything we want to accomplish is still there, we’ve just got to keep working.”
Monticello answered though and kept the Patriots at arm’s length with a tough 4-yard touchdown run by Ayers and a touchdown pass from Jarrell to a wideopen Garrett Porterfield sandwiched around a late third quarter touchdown run by Anderson. Porterfield had an unbelievable game, catching that touchdown and picking off a pass.
“He’s a great kid, kind of the unheralded hero of this team,” Lloyd said. “He’s the kid everybody loves, but man he’s a special kid defensively and he’s got great hands. He got his first high school touchdown tonight and puked as usual when he gets excited. It was great”
Porterfield was also tasked with trying to keep Anderson in check all night, and while Anderson rushed for 132 yards, he got a big chunk of that on one 55-yard run and had to scratch and claw for every other yard with Porterfield tying him up on seemingly every play.
“We know J’Quan is 90 percent of their offense, so it was about getting him rattled and getting him out of the pocket,” Porterfield said. “We set up a spy for me to cover him and I just spied him the whole game and kept him on his toes. I love having the pressure on me and just making plays and doing what I have to do for the team.”
Anderson also threw for 128 yards on 10-for-17 passing, finding KaySean Allen four times for 41 yards. For Monticello, Haverstrom finished with five catches for 60 yards while Johnson hauled in a 43-yard catch that setup Porterfield’s touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Monticello (5-0) plays in a second-straight rivalry game next week when Western Albemarle comes to town while Albemarle (1-4) will hit the road to take on Orange County as they begin the back half of their schedule.
— scrimmageplay (@scrimmageplay) September 30, 2017