MONROVIA -- North Putnam began a rebuilding process two-thirds through the regular season Friday, moving Jake Haste from tight end to starting quarterback for its West Central Conference game against Monrovia at Gordon Hadley Field.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Haste had never played quarterback anywhere previously, but coach Greg Barrett believes he will use his considerable athletic skill to make the transition and make the Cougars a better team by the time the sectionals begin.
Haste completed 13-of-21 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-20 loss to the Bulldogs. He was intercepted twice.
"I thought he handled things well," Barrett said. "He also played the entire game at linebacker. I thought he did a nice job and he's only going to get better. We have great skill players and talent and we can be a dangerous team with him by the playoffs."
Haste, working out of the shotgun, showed he can throw accurately despite a heavy rush by the Bulldogs, who sacked him four times. He completed seven of eight passes for 57 yards in guiding the Cougars (2-5, 1-3 WCC) on a 76-yard touchdown march that kept them in the game early.
Monrovia (3-4, 3-1 WCC) opened up a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on Nick Fairfield's 51-yard touchdown run and Austin Benjamin's 12-yard return of a blocked punt by T.J. Bower.
North Putnam took the ensuing kickoff and went down the field to score on Haste's 6-yard pass to Austin Day.
Haste also completed a 15-yarder to Joel Murray on third-and-9 from the North Puntnam 24, a 9-yarder to Anthony Cook, a 15-yarder to Jameson Brewer and a 12-yarder to Beau Green. The pass for the touchdown to Day came on fourth-and-six.
"Monrovia put us in a hole 14-0 and I thought we responded well," Barrett said. "We came back and scored."
The Cougars had a golden opportunity to keep the momentum when Haste recovered a Monrovia fumble on the ensuing kickoff. North Putnam took over at the Bulldogs' 26.
Haste hooked up with Day for a 12-yard gain to the 14 on first down. But two plays later, Bower intercepted Haste and returned it 32 yards to the North Putnam 42.
"That first interception really hurt us," Barrett said.
Monrovia ran for 247 yards. It had 58 on a 10-play touchdown march culminated by Fairfield's 1-yard run with 9:22 left in the first half. Austin Benjamin ran for the two-point conversion to put the Bulldogs up 22-7.
Monrovia drove 70 yards on 10 plays for its next touchdown to take a 29-7 advantage at halftime.
Day opened the second half with a 54-yard kickoff return to the Monrovia 30.
The Cougars scored eight plays later on Haste's 14-yard pass to Brewer on fourth-and-six. Taylor Zaring's kick cut North Putnam's deficit to 29-14 with 8:01 left in the third period.
But North Putnam couldn't stop Monrovia. LJ Adams returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards and the Cougars were penalized 15 yards for a face mask violation at the end of it that took Monrovia to the North Putnam 20. The Bulldogs scored in four plays, breaking the Cougars momentum by taking a 35-14 advantage.
Monrovia extended its lead to 42-14 with six seconds left in the third quarter.
Kaleb Belcher dashed 29 yards for a touchdown with 6:28 remaining, but Bower recovered an onside kick and Monrovia ran the clock out.
"We didn't play defensively as well as we have and our offense was better," Barrett said. "We've got some inexperienced players and we need to learn to step up and make plays. We need to play with more heart.
"We were undisciplined. That's what it all boils down to. We've got to learn to be a more disciplined team."
North Putnam 7 0 7 6 -- 20
Monrovia 14 15 13 0 --42
M -- Fairfield 51 run (Gemmecke kick) at 10:03
M -- Benjamin 12 blocked punt return (Gemmecke kick) at 8:27
NP -- Day 6 pass from Haste (Zaring kick) at 2:27.
M -- Fairfield 1 run (Benjamin run) at 9:22.
M -- Benjamin 1 run (Gemmecke kick) at 2:28.
NP -- Brewer 14 pass from Haste (Zaring kick) at 8:01
M -- Benjamin 1 run (run failed) at 6:35
M -- Fite 23 pass from Judson (Gemmecke kick) at :06.
NP -- Belcher 29 run (kicked blocked) at 6:08
Rushing: NP--Belcher 6-60, Wishert 2-16, Brewer 2-1, Haste 12-(-25); M--Fairfield 16-127, Bucks 10-69, Ellis 13-36, Bejnamin 4-20, Cooper 2-4, Baldwin 2-2, Judson 1-)-11).
Passing: NP--Haste 13-21-2 97; M--Judson 2-4-0 52.
Receiving: NP--Brewer 3-25, Day 3-23, Belcher 3-8, Murray 2-21, Green 1-12, Cook 1-9.
First downs: NP 6, M 12. Penalties: MP 4-30, M 5-43. Fumbles-lost: NP 1-0, M 2-1.