The San Marino High School varsity football team defense did all it could keep its nonleague game against visiting El Monte within reach, but five-star recruit Davon Booth made enough big plays to help the Lions escape with 20-7 win over the Titans last Friday.
San Marino’s defense shone in the team’s home opener with three turnovers. Unfortunately for first-year head coach Justin Mesa, the offense cashed in on only one of them during the third quarter. An interception by Niko Mavridis put the Titans (0-3 overall record) in good position to score. On the fourth play of the drive, senior quarterback Connor Short connected with Neven Yarahmadi for a 13-yard touchdown with 4:02 remaining in the third. The extra point gave San Marino a 7-6 lead, its first of the season.
On the ensuing drive, the Titans recovered a fumble 8 yards shy of the end zone. However, the offense was not able to take advantage of the opportunity as Short threw an interception on fourth down.
The turnover proved to be a costly one as Booth ran 77 yards for a touchdown minutes later, giving the Lions a 12-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
El Monte (3-0 overall), ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division 12, sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter when Booth intercepted a pass from Short and returned it 75 yards for a score.
Short finished the game completing 13 of 26 passes for 154 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Nick Singhal led the Titans’ backfield with 70 yards on 12 carries. Yarahmadi
led all receivers with nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Karapetyan hauled in one pass passes for 24 yards, Trond Grizzell finished with two catches for a 33 yards and Chris Leung recorded his first reception of the season with 12 yards.
Booth scored of all El Monte’s touchdowns and successfully converted a two-point conversion. The star running back caught a 61-yard touchdown, ran for 237 yards and a score on 16 carries, and returned an interception for a touchdown.
San Marino will hit the road for the third time this season and travel to Santa Fe Springs to take on Santa Fe High School this Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. The Chiefs enter the nonleague contest with a 1-2 record, which includes a 7-6 victory over Santee West Hills. Santa Fe suffered a 63-7 loss to San Marino last season.