By: Matt Rothman
The high school football season may be over, but Monarch continues to compete in All-Star Games and showcases.
Next Level Junior Classic
While Monarch had several seniors make a significant impact, five juniors, who are all set to return next season, played significant roles in helping them win their first District Championship in seven years.
AJ Hairston, Holden Zeltner, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Powell, and Malik Young were selected to play in the Next Level Junior Classic in Georgia on Dec. 21.
They were joined by Roberto Montanez Jr, coaching the offensive line, and Rufus Thomas, the new defensive coordinator for Monarch. The five players competed for Team Drip but fell 7-6 against Team Swag.
Montanez, a player on the team’s last District Championship in 2014, said it was a great opportunity for his team to showcase their skills playing against players from across the country.
“The experience was something they will never forget,” said Montanez. “I learned a lot from coaches that coach on different levels of football and made amazing connections. I can’t wait to be a part of it next year.”
Hairston threw the game’s only touchdown for Team Drip after being named Broward County Player of the Year. This past season, he recorded 3,217 passing yards with 32 touchdowns and had only six interceptions. He also had 347 rushing yards and added seven touchdowns more scores.
Zeltner, who was also selected for the Georgia-Florida High School Showcase, was a star on the offensive line for Monarch, blocking for running back Willie Reed. The Knights finished the season with 1,541 rushing yards.
The final three players all were from the defense. Thomas finished ninth in tackles with 38, while Powell had 18 and two interceptions, including an 85-yard pick-six. Young, who is expected to be a major part of next year’s team, filled in as a backup this year and had a tackle in his only game.
“Our players connected with their position coaches very well and learned new techniques to put in their arsenal come next season as we look to defend our District Title and have a chance to make states,” Montanez said.
Georgia vs. Florida High School Showcase
The Knights will have three offensive linemen heading to the showcase: Marvin Cyriac, Aiden Lin, and Holden Zeltner. These three players helped protect Walter Parrish. The Florida Atlantic commit caught 25 passes for 400 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He also competed in the BCAA and Miami-Dade vs. Broward All-Star Game.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student.
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