Almost as soon as the 2016 Monroe Football season ended, the program began its preparations to improve on their lackluster previous season.
The 2016 season was a disappointing one, as the football team finished 1-9, the only win being the season finale against Princeton, which was a constellation (a game that counts toward your record but does not affect postseason/playoff intentions).
We had high expectations going into the season, with many returning seniors with varsity experience from starting the last season. The previous season, the varsity team’s record was 4-6. We were expected to build and improve from there.
Things did not go as planned, however. The first game was a 40-14 loss, and we ended up starting the season 0-3 with no real close games. The next two games were two close and winnable games, but still resulted in losses.
Junior Kaylon Bradley said, “I thought we put in great effort and had experienced seniors, but we also had a lot of youngsters that had to step in and were not able to complete the mission of winning games. The seniors had our backs throughout the season, and did what they could to teach and better us. Next year will be a better season, even though we will be young. We are going to have to step up and really mature if we want to improve for last years effort.”
Coach Daniel Lee is making strides in doing a better job in preparing us for next season so the outcome will better. The offseason was truly only about two weeks long. The season ended at the end of November, and voluntary workouts began in December. After the winter break, more extreme workouts with incentives were put in place.
The football team has workouts four days a week – Monday through Thursday. On Mondays, we work on upper body in the weight room; Tuesdays and Thursdays are morning workouts with personal trainer Valentine, who was a professional football player; and Wednesday is lower body workout day in the weight room.
Players are expected to go to at least 90 percent of workouts in a given season. If players meet this mark, they get points. Whoever gets the most points gets first choice of numbers, first in line to get food, etc. Coach Lee’s reason for this is to make to try to reward us for doing the things we need to do to get better because we are smaller, weaker, and slower than the majority of other teams.
Junior Vinny Muro said, “Even though I do not enjoy waking up at 5:00 every other day, I think Coach [Lee] is doing the right thing in trying to prepare us to have a better season next year. It is going to be our senior year, my last year ever playing competitive football, and I want to do better than 1-9.”
Are the preparations the football team is making to improve enough or must more be done?