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Mr. Clutch

Montiel Makes Most of His Shot at Quarterback by Having Montebello Poised for League Title


There were a thousand things that flashed through David Montiel's mind when he learned he was finally the varsity quarterback for Montebello High, including fear.

"When I found out I might start, I was scared," the senior said this week as the Oilers prepared for Friday's homefield showdown against in-town rival Schurr. "I really didn't practice much, the team was relying on me.... I talked to my brother, and knew I had to step up."

The day before Montebello (8-0, 3-0 in Almont League play) played its final nonleague game, starter Rudy Cisneros limped to practice with a bad reaction to a spider bite on his leg, an injury that has prevented his return.

With one day's notice, Montiel completed nine of 12 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns against Pasadena, and he hasn't slowed. He has completed 37 of 56 passes (66%) for 428 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions. The Oilers have won four in a row with him starting.

"David really matured a lot from his junior to senior year," Montebello Coach Bill Drulias said. "He won a league championship in basketball as a starter on that team and got a lot of confidence.

"The most impressive thing is that he was able to remain calm. We haven't missed a beat in terms of what we can do."

Admittedly, this is Montiel's last hurrah as a football player. He started on the freshman team and led Montebello to the league title, but missed his sophomore season because of a broken wrist, and didn't take a single snap as a junior.

"Last year left a bad taste in his mouth," Drulias said. "The first couple of days of spring practice [to prepare for this season], he didn't come out. And then he did.... And we're glad he did."

Montiel's performance has continued to maximize the rushing opportunities for sophomore Daniel Drayton, who is averaging 7.4 yards and has scored 12 touchdowns, nine rushing.

Between Montiel and Cisneros (65.5% completion rate, four touchdowns and three interceptions), six different players have caught at least two touchdowns.

Montiel began this season as a safety and he was happy to be Cisneros' backup.

His clutch performance at quarterback, though, has positioned Montebello to win its first Almont League title since winning championships in 1994-95, when Montiel's brother, Fred, was the quarterback.

Few, if any, predicted a league title for the Oilers, but they beat defending champion and league favorite Bell Gardens two weeks ago, 13-6, and can clinch a tie for the title with a win over Schurr (6-2, 2-1).

"You don't expect to be 8-0, you expect to be tripped up along the way," Drulias said. .

"By the time you get to league, coaches have a good idea of what you do and don't do, and it's a matter of who makes the fewest mistakes.

"David has been very efficient. He's making good decisions, and hopefully that continues."

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