The Monroe Catholic High School football team kicks off its eight-game regular season Friday with an away game against the Seward Seahawks and Rams. Head coach Marcus Cogley expects the 15 players on his roster will be gassed by the end of the fourth quarter.
“They learn what Iron Man football is really quickly,” Cogley said on the sideline of the preseason Jamboree scrimmage. “We had this situation last year. We had more kids but after that first game everyone was exhausted, and I imagine it will be very similar this year.”
Nine of the 18 players from last year’s Rams team graduated and after only 12 Monroe students signed up to play football this year, the team decided to add three students from Tri-Valley High School to fill out the roster.
The loss of nine seniors and the addition of less experienced players has shifted Cogley’s plans for the offense this year, with the team focusing more on the run game and condensing the play book.
“When we had nine seniors, who had all been playing together for the last four years, that was a system that worked really well for them,” Cogley said, referring to the Ram’s formerly pass heavy offense, which finished the season 5-3. “With the more fresh people who don’t have as much experience we really want to simplify things and by doing that we want to make sure they know their things really well and running the ball is the easiest way for us to do that.”
Jordan Higbee, the team’s only senior, is also making big changes on offense. The former All-State receiver will be playing quarterback this year.
“It’s a lot of learning. I’ve never played quarterback before,” Higbee said. The senior is currently working on learning every position so he can help the less experienced players out in the huddle if they are unsure of the play.
“We only have a few plays right now so it’s not too bad … you just have to practice them a lot and I look at them at home a lot,” he said.
While the team’s lack of numbers is most notably its biggest weakness, it has also helped create a tight-knit group. “I think we are a really cohesive unit especially with the Tri-Valley guys. They came and fit right in,” Higbee said.
The Friday game against the Seahawks kicks off at 4:30 p.m.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMSports.