Monsters too Slippery for Ravens
Thatcher, AZ --
For the second time this season, the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters were unable to play their scheduled opponent and instead played a semi-pro team from Phoenix. This week’s victim was the East Phoenix Ravens.
The night started with very windy conditions as a storm blew in over the John T. Mickelson Field. Both teams struggled to pass and kick the ball due to the windy onslaught, but the Monsters run attack proved difficult to rattle.
In the first quarter, Jarvis Bridge sprinted into the end zone with 3:28 to go and gave the Monsters a 6-0 advantage. Less than a minute later, Warren Dante picked off a pass blown off the mark and ran it in for Eastern’s second touchdown of the night. Bridge scampered in for a two-point conversion and a 14-0 Eastern lead.
Early in the second quarter, Ameer Deggs scored on a three-yard run to give the Monsters a 21-0 lead. With about five-and-a-half minutes left in the half, the defense flexed its muscles. Eastern special teams had pinned the Ravens deep in their own territory, and on fourth down, the Monsters caught the Ravens punter in his own end zone and brought him down for a safety.
The storm chose that moment to make its presence known. Lightning flashed and thunder crackled close by, and the game was put on hold with the hope that the storm would quickly pass. After 30 minutes, the teams re-emerged on the field. The lightning was gone, but the rain stayed for the duration of the night.
In the final minutes of the second half, Mohammed Seisay intercepted a pass and ran in Eastern’s second pick six of the night. As halftime approached, the Monsters had a 30-0 lead.
Halftime was compressed to one minute to make up for the storm delay. The Monsters offense picked up where they left off and scored using their vicious run attack. Rashon Evans ran 35 yards for the score. As time expired in the third quarter, Eastern was whistled for a penalty and pushed back to its own six-yard line. It was given one untimed down to end the quarter. Quarterback Tae Wright took advantage of the opportunity and hit Jonathan Johnson, who finished the 94-yard play by prancing into the end zone. The fourth quarter was scoreless, and Monsters went home with a 44-0 victory.
Wind and rain proved to be difficult obstacles to overcome for both teams. Each squad at times had problems holding on to the ball, but Eastern showed that it was able to outlast the elements. Brandon Porter missed a PAT for the first time this season, but the rough conditions could have contributed.
The Monsters host #18 Glendale on Saturday, September 17, in the WSFL opener. “We better be ready because we are going to get one of the best teams in the conference right off the bat,” coach John O’Mera said. “We are ready to be tested.”
Story Written by Zack Riddle
Eastern Arizona Courier