"We knew (Montebello was) going to be tough even though their record didn't indicate (much)," said Matador coach Jude Oliva after the game. "We watched them on film and every week they kept improving. They were solid upfront. Defensively, they did some things that were really good."
While the game in the first half was carelessly played, as both teams accounted for numerous penalties and seven turnovers, it appeared as if the Matadors (2-4 overall, 0-1 in league) were in control of the game late in the third quarter.
A fumble recovered for a touchdown by offensive lineman Hunter Garcia, a 39-yard field goal by place kicker Gilmar Tenes, a safety and a one-yard score by quarterback Andy Guerrero put the Matadors out in front, 19-6, halfway through the third quarter.
Almost left for dead, Montebello (2-4, 1-0) fought back hard on the arm of quarterback Fernando Hoffens. With 36 seconds remaining in the third, Hoffens connected with wideout George Romo for 20-yard score.
Trailing, 19-13, early in the fourth quarter, Montebello would capitalize on one of several Matador blunders. Following a Matador fumble near their end zone, a Montebello defender would recover the loose ball. Three plays later, a Marcus Owens two-yard score put Montebello out in front, 20-19.
"We got a little sloppy towards the end of the third quarter and fourth and it cost us the game," said Oliva.
With 2:17 remaining in the game, the Matadors would receive a gift from the heavens. A fumbled punt by Oiler punter Juan Hernandez was recovered by Matador Joey Villalobos. Villalobos rumbled into the end zone for the touchdown to give the Matadors a 26-20 advantage.
On the ensuing drive, Hoffens would lead a possible season defining drive that could change Montebello's season around. A tremendous eight-play, 80-yard drive was capped off by a Hoffens two-yard touchdown pass to give Montebello a 27-26 lead with 13 seconds left in the game.
"We are going to go at (Mark) Keppel just like we would at anyone else," said Oliva, discussing his teams' mindset heading into next week's game against Mark Keppel High. "We are going to prepare hard and play tough. We will both be hungry. We both need a (conference) win."