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Tigers pound out win at Monrovia

October 22, 2012
By Kevin Spragg of Triton Central High School

Tigers pound out win at Monrovia



By Patrick Sloane
Staff writer
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012 7:05 AM US/eastern
MONROVIA — The Triton Central Tigers moved into the second round of Class 2A, Sectional 31 with a 33-12 win over the Monrovia Bulldogs.

Dakota Nelson and Jonah Thacker provided the Tigers with strong numbers in the rain Friday night, scoring all five of Triton Central's touchdowns.

The Tigers entered the game on a three-game win streak and the mindset to win at all costs. After all, this is their sectional title they are defending. It didn't take long for the Tigers to get things underway either.

After forcing the Bulldogs to punt, Dakota Nelson waited for the ball to arrive near his own end zone. After a few good blocks and moves, the field opened for the senior, and there was no looking back as the ball traveled 89 yards for a touchdown.

Monrovia's run-heavy play controlled parts of the game, and spurts of heavy rain threatened costly mistakes. However, Tigers head coach Gabe Johnson believes his team is used to playing in bad weather and taking on good teams.

"With the elements, we felt good but also we'd like to not play in the rain," Johnson said with a laugh. "But we've played in it before so we can learn from it. We're happy we made enough good plays to take care of (Monrovia)."

Monrovia got on the scoreboard with a 15-play, 84-yard drive culminating in an 8-yard run by junior Austin Benjamin before the Tigers again made quick work of adding a touchdown. This time a 61-yard pass from quarterback Dillon Nelson to his older brother Dakota, helped the Tigers to a 14-6 lead at halftime.

The second half provided more of the same, with a 10-yard run by Thacker adding to the Tigers' lead. The Bulldogs' Nick Fairfield got the hosts back in the game with a 53-yard touchdown run.

Thacker again showed his power busting through the middle for a 65-yard touchdown run, and an interception by Dakota Nelson led to a third touchdown drive for the Tigers, one that ended with a 73-yard touchdown throw-and-catch by the Nelsons.

At the end of the night, soaked from the rain and excited from the win, the Tigers advanced to the second round of the sectional. Johnson knew going into Monrovia was going to be a tough battle, but he was pleased with his team's performance and progress.

"Every win is a good win from here on out," he said. "It was one of those games where you didn't know which way it was going to go because of the rain. We made sure we didn't let it distract us."

The Tigers host Paoli on Friday in the sectional semifinal. It's a rematch of last year's championship game.

"Paoli has a good offense so we're going to demand good defensive football," Johnson said. "Our kids know what it takes to win. We know how to prepare for a good team because we've had to do it every week.

"The road to the trophy has to come through us. We're the defending champions and everyone is gunning for us, and we accept that."

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