Pirates down Dragons in the first round of state football playoffs 


Photos by Brian Williams  Eighth-seeded Monte Vista advanced to the Class 1A state football quarterfinals with a 28-21 win at home over ninth-seeded Holyoke on Saturday, Nov. 5. Monte Vista senior quarterback Andrew Chavez (9) ran for two touchdowns and had one TD pass to lead the Pirates to a 28-21 win over Holyoke on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Monte Vista.  Pirates' sophomore Kevin Cisneros (23) broke loose for 51 yards to start the scoring for Monte Vista in the first quarter.  Monte Vista senior Khegan Gunter (5) returned a fumble 42 yards and rushed for 108 hard yards in the Pirates’ 28-21 playoff win on Saturday at Monte Vista. Defensively, Monte Vista forced turnovers and limited Holyoke to only seven points in the second half of Saturday’s 28-21 first-round playoff win in Monte Vista. 

Chavez accounts for three touchdowns in the win 

MONTE VISTA — Eighth-seeded Monte Vista advanced to the Class 1A state football quarterfinals with a 28-21 win at home over ninth-seeded Holyoke on Saturday, Nov. 5.  

MVHS (9-1, 4-1 league) rebounded from a tough 28-24 loss, its first of the season last week to rival Centauri (8-2, 5-0 league).  

Pirates coach Manny Wasinger was pleased to see his team put last week’s defeat behind it and come away with the hard-fought, first-round playoff win that also ended a four-year playoff drought.  

“It’s been a while, the last time we were in the quarterfinals was 2017,” Wasinger said. “You got to get into the playoffs first and we had a great season to do that. We stubbed our toe a little last week, but we didn’t let one loss turn into two and that was our main goal this week. We had to forget the Centauri game and move on.”  

Monte Vista never trailed in the game and built 14-point leads in the first and fourth quarters. Holyoke managed to tie the game at 14 in the second quarter and rallied to within 28-21 with a 97-yard scoring drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to make it interesting.  

The Pirates again leaned on their veteran line to open holes for standout senior running back Khegan Gunter and to protect steady senior quarterback Andrew Chavez to get the win over the gritty Dragons (4-6, 2-3 league) on Saturday. 

Chavez completed 7-of-19 passes for 97 yards and one TD and ran for two touchdowns — 1 and 13 yards. He gained 88 yards on 14 carries. 

MVHS also received an offensive and defensive boost from sophomore Kevin Cisneros, who rushed for a team-high 124 yards and one TD on 12 carries and recovered a fumble. 

Gunter ran for 108 tough yards on 29 carries and put the Pirates ahead 28-14 with a 2-point rush in the fourth quarter. He also had a fourth-quarter interception that led to a time-consuming drive by the Pirates. 

Gunter returned a fumble 42 yards to the Holyoke 24-yard line three minutes into the fourth quarter. Five straight rushes by Gunter gave the Pirates first-and-goal at the 10 with 6:21 to go.  

The MVHS drive stalled at the 3-yard line with 4:14 remaining. Holyoke took over on downs after holding Cisneros to a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-goal from the 5.   

“If we’d been able to score, we would have put them away, but we did eat a lot of clock and flip the field and they had to go 97 yards. It was big for sure,” Wasinger said.  

Holyoke’s Tyson Mosenteen ran for a 4-yard TD and Wyatt Sprague kicked the point-after to pull the Dragons to 28-21. The score capped a 97-yard, 11-play drive by Holyoke.  

The Pirates recovered a decent onside kick by the Dragons with 2:35 to go and celebrated the win by taking a knee after picking up a first down with under a minute remaining. Cisneros broke free for 26 yards on third-and-7 to give the Pirates the game-sealing first down. Moments earlier, Cisneros scampered 34 yards for a TD only to have it negated by a penalty.  

“Our kids had to battle,” Wasinger said. “Holyoke when they went down two scores they didn’t stop playing. They went 97 yards for that last touchdown, and it came down to an onside kick and us grinding out one first down.”  

A string of three consecutive turnovers led to a Pirates touchdown and a 20-14 lead just before halftime.  

Cisneros recovered a fumble late in the first half that put the Pirates at the Dragons' 25-yard line.  

Monte Vista’s Chavez was intercepted in the endzone on the next play when his receiver slipped.  

Holyoke gave it right back on the next play as the Pirates recovered a fumble on the 23-yard line.  

After a couple of penalties and a sack for a loss of 9 yards, Chavez found Gunter for a 22-yard completion on third down that set up fourth-and-3 from the 5-yard line with under 20 seconds left in the first half.   

A facemask on a short run by Gunter moved the ball to the half-yard line and Chavez pushed through the pile and into the endzone on the next play to cap a wild end to the first half.  

“That was big. That gave us some momentum going into the half there to put the mistakes of the first half behind us,” Wasinger said.  

Cisneros got the Pirates on the board first with a 51-yard scoring run 2 minutes into the game. Chavez ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Pirates ahead 8-0.  

A 17-yard TD pass from Chavez to Alex Marquez in the front corner of the endzone followed by a failed 2-point run pushed the Pirates’ lead to 14-0 with 2:26 left in the first quarter.  

Holyoke quarterback Sprague connected with Reid Sprague on a 48-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to make it 14-6.  

Mosenteen added a 5-yard TD run and ran for two more points to tie the game at 14 with 5:12 to play in the first half.  

Up next for Monte Vista is a 1 p.m. road game at top-seeded and undefeated Limon (10-0) after the Badgers cruised to a 42-14 win over Flat Irons Academy on Nov. 5.  

“We’ll watch film, put a gameplan together and we’ll go out and play hard, I can guarantee that,” Wasinger said of the game with Limon. 

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