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August 11, 2014

2014 Menchville Monarchs Preview

2014 Tidewater Football Schedules
2013 Tidewater Football Schedules & Results


Peninsula District, Class 5A, Region 5A South
Head Coach: Glenn Tidwell

Recent History:
2011 - -
2-8 (missed playoffs)
2012 - - 3-7 (missed playoffs)
2013 - - 1-9 (missed playoffs)

Rewind: For six straight seasons from 2006-11, the Menchville Monarchs finished with a record of 2-8 overall. They snapped that by going 3-7 in 2012, but only achieved one win in their first season under Tidwell in 2013. That victory came in mid-October when they edged Newport News rival Warwick, 17-13. In the six games prior to that, the Monarchs were outscored 308-3.

Offensive Outlook:
Of the 49 public schools in our coverage zone in Tidewater, Menchville's 32 points scored were the fewest in all of 2013. They scored only three touchdowns the entire season. The guy that had two of them, junior tailback Torey Guilford (5-9, 175), is back. Guilford broke off a 73-yard scoring scamper against Warwick and ran for 135 yards on 14 attempts that day. He'll be featured heavily in the run game in their split-back veer system along with fellow junior Malik Dixon (5-7, 155). Menchville has four returnees on the offensive line, headlined by senior left tackle Kenneth Kirby (6-5, 270). Certainly, building depth on the offensive line will be important.

One major plus to have in their blocking efforts is at tight end in Elijah Murphy (6-4, 250), who holds an offer from James Madison and also is an accomplished basketball player. At split-end, junior Maurice Johnson (6-1, 190), "has gotten a lot stronger," according to Tidwell, and senior Keavin Good (5-10, 170) could develop into a viable option in the passing game. What's very much up in the air is who ends up getting the majority of the snaps at quarterback with as many as five players battling for the position. Senior NaiQuan Cooper (5-10, 165) and a pair of sophomores, Shemar Butts (5-8, 150) and Anthony Wyatt (6-0, 160), are the main candidates.

Defensive Outlook:
Stopping people was a problem for Menchville last season, too. They surrendered 44 points and 234.5 rushing yards per game. However, Tidewell vows that the Monarchs will be, "a lot faster on defense this year than we were last year." In their base 4-3, Murphy is a force that was chosen Second Team All-PenSouth Conference. "He has a very quick first step, is coachable and hasn't learned bad habits, which makes it easier to teach him some things," Tidwell said. "He's got good hands and really good feet."

Senior Isaiah Bryant (5-9, 150) was the team's lone All-Conference First Team selection a year ago and returns to anchor the secondary, which outside of him is relatively thin. A newcomer to watch that Tidwell is very high on is senior linebacker Richard Smith (5-11, 195), someone that figures to see time on offense in the backfield as well. Junior Ray Savage III (6-1, 190) has the ability to be a significant contributor at either outside linebacker or defensive end.

Date to Circle:
October 10th vs. Warwick. Besides the Raiders being the only team that Menchville beat last year, it's a city rival with a new Head Coach. Much like the Monarchs were, Warwick is undergoing a transition and it'll probably take some time for them to build towards being a competitive factor in the PD. This game also comes six days after playing Phoebus, a team that hasn't been too kind to the Monarchs in recent years with lopsided results going in the Phantoms' favor. We'll find out about their mettle following that one and a good showing in this spot against the Raiders is critical to a positive finish to the season.

Hat's Hit:
The last time Menchville finished above .500 was 1995. It's a program that has produced an NFL player before in defensive back David Macklin, but they've fallen on hard times lately with a 23-117 mark since 2000. A total of 16 seniors graduated from last season, although only 11 of them played and not many were key contributors. In addition, the current roster has been with this coaching staff for a full season and off-season, so that ought to make for fewer growing pains.

"The biggest difference is having the whole year to get them in the weight room," he commented. "Strength-wise and understanding what we're doing offensively and defensively, we appear to be in better shape. We've also got some bigger new kids that are going to help us out at some point as far as the offensive and defensive line goes. They've just got to learn how to play football."

How quickly the maturation process is for those players in the trenches will likely dictate the type of season the Monarchs have. It could be a musical chairs situation at quarterback, although they won't be passing a ton and have up to four capable rushing options with Guilford, Dixon, Bryant and Smith. Murphy is the linchpin of the line and arguably one of the most underrated prospects in the area.

Don't expect them to be a playoff contender just yet, but unlike last season, they should score their first offensive touchdown before October arrives.

Matthew Hatfield has covered football and basketball since 2004 for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him on High School Sports Talk Saturdays at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.


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