INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Monrovia executed its game plan and avoided making mistakes. Whiting had its opportunities but struggled to finish drives that ended on Monrovia’s side of the field. And once the Bulldogs’ impressive running game wore Whiting down, Monrovia put the game out of reach.
Dalton Smith rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and Jaden Rhea finished with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns as Monrovia rolled to a 33-6 Class 2A state football championship Saturday over Whiting.
“We knew that we were going to wear people down as we went and that’s what happened,” said Monrovia coach Kevin Hutchins.
Third-ranked Monrovia took a close game at the half and blew it open by outscoring No. 6 Whiting 19-0 in the final two quarters. The Bulldogs (14-1) run-focused offense finished with 373 yards on the ground, the fourth most in a state finals game.
The telling possessions for Whiting (13-2) took place on the Oilers’ final first half drive and the opening drive of the second half. Right before the half Whiting’s defense stopped Monrovia on a fourth down attempt on the Whiting 20-yard line. The Oilers then drove 60 yards but came up empty at the Monrovia 24-yard line.
A drive that potentially could have ended with Whiting tying the contest stalled with no points with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter. The score was 14-6 at that point.
On the first play of the second half, Whiting quarterback Stuart Glascow was stripped by senior Monrovia defensive lineman Jeremiah Welty for the game’s first turnover. In the process of executing a one-armed tackle, Glascow took the ball away from Glascow as the two players went to the ground.
Eight plays later, Smith cashed in from two yards out to give the Bulldogs a 21-6 lead and control of the game.
“That was a big turnover for us, because they were only down by a touchdown,” Welty said. “Me getting that turnover put us up by two (scores). I feel like that was a real momentum changer.”
In a 14-6 contest, Whiting coach Jeff Cain said that sequence that had Whiting coming up empty was costly.
Rhea put the finishing touches on Monrovia’s first football title in school history with an 18-yard touchdown run with 8:04 left in the game. It also gave him 32 touchdowns on the season during a campaign in which he ran for 2,048 yards.
“Three backs and we all do great because of our line,” Rhea said. “It’s an honor to have them blocking for us so we can get those yards.”
Smith finished the year with 1,646 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. With his 68 rushing yards, Garrison Lee finished with 1,628 yards on the ground. For the season, Monrovia racked up 6,368 rushing yards.
The Monrovia defense, one of the best defenses in Class 2A during 2015, limited Whiting to 236 total yards of offense. Glascow finished 12-of-25 for 137 yards but threw two interceptions playing from behind in the second half. He also led the team in rushing with 63 yards.
Thomas Davenport gave Whiting its lone score of the game, a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that pulled Whiting within 7-6. He finished with 17 yards on six carries.