The Mark Morris Monarchs are having fun again. You can see it in their smiles on the sidelines, and in the tenor of their fight song.
It’s been a long time coming for the Monarchs’ football team. Mark Morris moved to 2-1, and above .500 after three weeks for the first time in three years, with a 47-0 beatdown of Fort Vancouver on Friday at Longview Memorial Stadium.
“It feels amazing; this team is family,” junior Marco Valdivia-Aldana said. “This is what we’ve been practicing for day and night. It felt amazing; it was perfect.”
After a 48-14 victory over Castle Rock last Thursday, the Monarchs faced a team that had scored just four touchdowns in its past 16 games. Overlook nothing, MM coach Shawn Perkins preached at practice. And it worked. The Monarchs fielded the opening kickoff, and went 68 yards on a clinical 10 plays to take a 6-0 lead.
“I was pretty hard on them this week about little things,” Perkins said. “Unbuckled chin strap, wrong socks, all those things. It’s about the details. We’re competing against a faceless opponent. It doesn’t matter who it is, that opponent is yourself.”
A bad snap on a Fort Vancouver punt resulted in a mad scramble for the loose ball in the Trappers’ end zone. Cole Busch was the first to it, but Valdivia-Aldana secured it for the score and a 13-0 lead. It was off to the races from there for MM.
“I personally didn’t think I was going to get it,” Valdivia-Aldana said. Busch was five yards in front of him as the ball lay on the grass. “It just happened what happened.”
Valdivia-Aldana got in on the action again later in the game, blocking a punt that was recovered by Brendon Hutton and returned 11 yards for the score and a 33-0 second-quarter lead.
By game’s end, after an entire second half with the running clock, Mark Morris outgained Fort Vancouver 354-89. Most of those yards — 321 of them — came on the ground. Noah Mejia had seven carries for 56 yards and a 2-yard score and Ethan West had four carries for 21 yards and a 2-yard score.
Dawson Fritz was electric again on a 90-yard touchdown scamper, and he tossed a 31-yard scoring strike to Jack Shipley, who had caught a 21-yarder the play before, but it was called back for holding. And freshman George Mosier, an unrostered freshman, capped things with a 72-yard scoring run. Fritz also had an interception that he returned for 70 yards to paydirt that was called back for holding.
“It’s a big-time confidence builder for our kids,” Perkins said. “Sometimes that’s what you need. … That was a fun time to see, and a fun time for our kids.”
Mark Morris hosts Ridgefield on Friday for the start of Greater St. Helens 2A League play.