Reseda Coach Joel Schaeffer walked the sidelines in disbelief.
His Regents outgained Monroe in total offense, played better defense and lost to the Vikings, 14-7, in front of a large home crowd.
The Regents, who couldn’t get a handle on a penalty problem that started early, missed several scoring opportunities. Placekicker Robert Loomis missed field goals of 11 and 21 yards and had one blocked.
What proved to be the game-winning touchdown took everyone by surprise except All-City receiver Barry Thomas. Reseda punted on fourth and four in the middle of the fourth quarter. Kevin Mughan received the punt, and on a classic play, handed the ball to the reversing Thomas, who ran 68 yards down the right sideline to end the scoring.
“I think we were a better football team,” Scaeffer said. “They beat us on that one play. We broke down on one play.
“I yelled and yelled at those kids, telling them that Monroe might run that reverse, but sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you tell them.
“I’m not taking anything away from Monroe,” he said. “But I think the statistics will show that we played a better football game.”
Indeed, Reseda had 379 yards total offense to Monroe’s 138, but big numbers don’t mean much when scoring opportunities are missed.
“Our placekicker is playing in the shadows of a lot of great kickers that have played here,” Schaeffer said. “He’s got to realize that kicking in a game is a lot different than kicking in practice.”
Monroe gained good field position in the middle of the first quarter, when Regents punter Don Grant scrambled with the ball before kicking it 12 yards through heavy traffic. Monroe set up on the Reseda 36.
On first down, Robert Harding lofted a 29-yard pass to Thomas. Two plays later, Harding hit Mughan in the end zone to put the Vikings up, 7-0.
It didn’t take the Regents too long to respond. Daryl Mickens drove Reseda from Reseda’s 28 to the Monroe 42 in only five plays. Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Mickens unleashed a rocket to David Wilson to tie the game at seven.
The win improved Monroe’s record to 2-0 while the Regents fell to 1-1. Last season the Regents were second in the Pac-8 League and the Vikings were co-champions of the Sunset League.