Updated: Dec 22, 2020
As if missing out on junior prom and the sudden switch to remote learning wasn’t enough, rising seniors are now in a position where the pandemic is still impacting their year. Although the school has better-adapted this school year, all students have still been forced to stay home and continue online learning for the fall. Student athletes, however, continued their playing seasons as normal with a few changes in order to prioritize the health of both the athletes, coaching staff, and remaining faculty.
Athletes filled out a daily questionnaire before practice, had temperature checks at check-in areas, and wore face masks/socially distanced whenever possible at practices. To establish a one-way entrance and exit system, football players entered through the middle school parking lot, practiced in the stadium, and left through the tennis parking lot. Other changes to the fall sports season this year included no access to locker rooms, using hand sanitizer frequently, and disinfecting shared equipment.
Zeph Grant, who's been playing as a wide receiver for eight years, played as both a wide receiver and cornerback for his last season of varsity football as a Monroe Falcon. While he mainly contributed to the team’s success offensively this year and making plays, he also improved greatly on his defensive skills, something he takes great pride in.
Since the coronavirus pandemic and playing season coincided with one another, there was a limited number of people able to attend the games in-person, which was decided on a first come, first serve basis. For those who couldn’t physically come to the games, there were live streams of them on the school’s YouTube page. The team’s last game was
against Sayreville on Friday, November 20, 2020, and they managed to pull out a win of 13-12, making it the most successful season the team’s had in over 10 years.
With the unprecedented nature of the season and one of the players testing positive for COVID-19, Grant shared, “Something that I’ll definitely take away from this season is to never take a day for granted because it can be taken away from you in an instant...I was heartbroken to find out someone close to me was diagnosed with covid as well as meaning my season would be cut short. As days passed by I didn’t sit around and mourn about the past; I developed a positive outlook on things and dedicated myself to working out and improving myself for the future.”
Regardless of the obstacles the seniors had thrown their way, head coach, Mr. Daniel Lee, remains incredibly proud of how well they adjusted during the games and the effort they put in throughout the entire season. The seniors this year played a vital role in bettering Monroe’s record and as a result, allowed the school to be ranked within the top 5 in Middlesex County. After the team’s last game, Lee commended the boys on their dedication to the program, character, and work ethic over the years as high schoolers.
In the future, Grant plans on continuing his athletic career as a football player in college, but remains undecided on which school he wants to commit to. In addition to extending his athletic career, he also has a goal of earning his masters in criminology as he sees himself having a future in law enforcement, either as a police officer or detective.
When discussing his future plans of his football and academic journey, Grant mentioned, “I want to make a difference in the lives of people in our community each day, and I know by pursuing this career choice I can help others and make the world a better place.”
With Grant’s countless contributions to the Falcon Football program throughout his high school career and a clear goal in mind, it looks as though both Monroe football and Grant have a bright future ahead of themselves. Despite a world currently full of uncertainty, it's clear that Grant will always be Monroe’s #1.
Grant puts up a phenomenal effort against Monroe’s rivals, the Old Bridge Knights.