Fulton’s title defense comes up short in a 22-14 loss to Amino Robinson in the CIF LA City Section 8-Man Football Title Game
After an impressive 8-1 record on the season, the top-ranked Fulton Jaguars took the field at Birmingham Community Charter High School on Saturday, November 18th, 2023 looking to defend the city championship they captured on the same field the season before. Their opponents in the CIF LA City Section 8-Man Football Championship game were the third-seeded Amino Robinson Monarchs, who had a losing 4-5 record in the regular season yet made an improbable postseason run to put themselves in position to win the ultimate prize. The Monarchs struck first late in the first half and refused to relinquish the lead despite a late fourth quarter rally from the Jaguars. The 22-14 loss brings a heartbreaking ending to a season for a Fulton program with aspirations of a dynasty.
The first possession for both teams chewed up most of the duration of the first quarter where each team turned the ball over on downs. After forcing a punt from the Jaguars, the Monarchs were stopped again on a fourth down sack by junior safety Kevin Najera. The Fulton offense couldn’t capitalize on the defensive stop and, after punting the ball, their defense committed an unnecessary roughness penalty to back them up at their own 21-yard line. Amino Robinson powered their way into the end zone on 3rd & 6 to take an 8-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the half.
Fulton’s offense moved the ball into the red zone with hopes to tie the game before halftime, but a false start penalty as time expired derailed their last chance for a touchdown. Amino Robinson turned it over on their first offensive possession of the second half when Najera recovered a fumble from Monarchs senior running back Derrick Johnson. After being shut out in the first half, the Jaguars offense finally got on the board with an 11-yard touchdown run by junior running back Aaron Calica to cut the deficit to 8-6 with 8:30 left in the 3rd quarter. Not rattled by the Jaguars response, senior quarterback and team captain Henry Campos led the Monarchs offense on a drive which concluded in him tossing in a 34-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead to 16-6.
Amino Robinson forced a game-changing turnover on the following drive for the Jaguars when senior cornerback Raymond Reed picked the ball off and returned it to the Fulton 33-yard line. The Monarchs took advantage of the field position as Campos led a drive where he powered in a 1-yard touchdown on a QB keeper to take a 22-6 lead into the 4th quarter. On the subsequent drive, one in which the Jaguars needed a touchdown to get back into the contest, the Monarchs defense made a statement with a goal line stand on the one-yard line with 8:42 left in the game.
Just when all hope seemed lost for Fulton, Campos fumbled the quarterback/center exchange where the ball was recovered in the end zone by Calica for the defensive touchdown to cut the deficit to 22-14. Fired up from their defensive touchdown, the Jaguars parlayed the momentum into a goal line stand of their own to give the offense the ball with 3:18 left in the game. Fulton had one more opportunity to tie the game for a potential overtime, but the Monarchs defense obtained a fourth down stop with 1:07 left to seal the championship win for Amino Robinson. Despite the disappointing result to end their season, the Fulton football Program will continue to build on the success of their back-to-back title game appearances with last season’s hardware under their belt.
All Photos Courtesy of VST Intern Benjamin Becher