To say last season was disappointing is an understatement for the Monroe City football team. Monroe City struggled to a 3-8 season, losing to Mark Twain in the district semifinals. The Panthers are looking to regain their physical edge over opponents and return to a winning season.
Here’s what Monroe City coach David Kirby had to say about his team:
“The youths took their lumps, but they gained experience and that’s the big thing. We don’t want to look at the negatives, only the positives, and they got experience, and hopefully we can use that experience to build a better product this year.
“We’re a little bit deeper. We have a lot of kids who saw a lot of varsity experience last year. They’re contributing on offense, defense and special teams. We’re just trying to get our best players on the field, and that competition will breed success.
“We lost some really close games early, but those young guys really started to develop by the end of the year. That’s what we’re building for. The reps they got last year, we’re using those for the summer and into fall practice to put a good product on the field. A lot of the sophomores like Blake Hays, Jon Saxbury and Zach Osborn played really well and got some experience on Friday nights. There’s some juniors and seniors ahead of them that have been showing them how to practice at a high level and have really been going after things.
“Blake and Zach will probably be at the tailback with some of the older guys like Logan Minter, Brice Falls and Cole Pennewell. Those guys are doing a really good job of pushing the issue in practice, and the guys are really stepping it up. Our quarterback battle is still up for grabs among a few kids. We’re letting that play out and see who’s going to be taking the snaps.
“We sure hope the running backs will benefit for us. We’ve got six or seven guys who can get some reps, and hopefully we don’t have to rely on one guy and can spread the wealth. Each kid, when their number is called, can run the ball hard. When their number isn’t called, they’ll be able to block to the whistle and really give some good offensive attacks in a lot of different areas.
“Obviously it stings a little bit when you go through a rough year, but we’re looking at the positives. It was a year of learning and a year of experience. That’s under our belt now so we’re going to go out and play ball. I think one of the things I learned is you just have to keep pushing the younger kids. You just have to keep learning and stick to the basics of what you’re doing, and focus on the building blocks of the program. That’s what we’ve done over the last year.”