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August 23, 2014
Monarchs Upset Maury 28-7
Monarchs Pull Upset: What a difference a year makes. In 2013, the Menchville Monarchs were steamrolled 62-0 by the Maury Commodores in Norfolk, finishing with negative 27 yards. It marked the first of six straight games without a touchdown.
Turn the calendar to 2014 and things were far better for the Newport News school when they opened up the season at John B. Todd Stadium on Friday night, shocking the visiting Commodores 28-7.
Not too shabby for a team that was outscored 440-32 a season ago. The Monarchs have already matched their win total from last year and it's not even September yet.
"It was a personal game to us. We lost to them 62-0 last year. We just came ready to play," said Menchville junior tailback Torey Guilford, who turned only five carries into 134 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
Guilford's 80-yard scamper with 3:21 left in the first quarter gave Menchville a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the night. These clearly are not your 2013 Monarchs.
He had plenty of reason to smile afterwards. Even though it was a sloppily played game with both teams combining for 22 penalties for 228 yards and six turnovers, all of which came in the game's first 13 minutes, the Monarchs rose to the occasion time and time again.
"I think I had the job five weeks before we played them [last year]. Having a whole 8-9 months to a year has really paid off. We hit the weight room December 2nd and have been going ever since," Tidwell added.
Maury, which finished 8-4 last season and advanced to the second round of the 5A-South regional playoffs, managed to pile up 192 yard rushing on 48 attempts. Junior Delveon Little rushed for 112 yards on 26 carries. However, the Commodores saw drives fizzle out on third and fourth down, were plagued by penalties and turnovers, and couldn't solve the Menchville defense over the game's final three quarters.
Although it wasn't a postseason game, the win certainly raised spirits and morale for a program that has been yearning for something to celebrate about.
"It means a lot for Menchville. We made history. The hard work in the off-season, pushing plates, running, pushing each other, our coaches, it all played a big part," commented Menchville senior defensive end/tight end Elijah Murphy, who has an offer from James Madison and is also being recruited heavily by Marshall.
Instead of Maury leading 14-2, Menchville dodged a bullet and would go on to score 26 unanswered points to secure their first win in a season opener since 2006.
"That was huge. We told them big plays were going to happen whether it was us or them and you can't put your head down. I think that slowly is sinking into their brains that things are going to happen and you can't get down," Tidwell remarked.
"If it had been 14-2, I think we still would've turned around and done some things because the first two plays that I called for the day that were both turnovers were the same play we scored on that 80-yard run."
Guilford's two long runs of 80 and 47 yards sent Maury for a loop and showed that he could be a real factor in the Peninsula District this season.
"He's an explosive guy. He's worked real hard in the weight room in the off-season and he's run track, both indoor and outdoor, worked on his speed," Tidwell stated. "Of course, you saw that and he was gone. They weren't going to catch him. He's a great kid, good student and overall a good player for us."
Supporting him in the run game were junior Malik Dixon and senior Richard Smith. Each added a touchdown with Smith finding the end zone on a 10-yard run that would give the Monarchs an eight-point cushion entering the second quarter Dixon scoring on a 61-yard burst that pushed the advantage to 15 points in the third period. Those three combined for 227 yards on 25 attempts.
Defenders like Murphy, Savage, Keys, junior linebacker Robert McFaddin and senior lineman Kenneth Kirby (the nephew of ex-NFL player and Tabb High standout Terry Kirby) led the charge. Menchville was able to sub extra bodies in there so that played didn't get too fatigued before the fourth quarter.
"Last year, we were very young, and we're still fairly young right now. We've built a lot of depth to where we rotated linemen linebackers in to where I think their numbers weren't nearly as big as ours," Tidwell noted. "That sort of wore down on them, and our kids were exhausted, too. The depth on the defensive side really helped us because it made things a little easier for us."
Defeating Maury and doing so by the margin they did - - two touchdowns away from a running clock - - should surely get the attention of those on the Monarchs' schedule now.
"It's one game. We still have nine more to go. We can't be satisfied with winning just the first game. But to start off 1-0 gives us a lot of confidence," Tidwell admitted.
"We'll probably find out what type of coaches we are because this will be the toughest week of coaching, getting them off that high. We have a lot of things to work on [and] they know. We'll watch film on Monday, see all the things we did well, what we didn't do well and fix them. Hopefully it'll pay dividends against Bethel."
Menchville Monarchs 28:
Commodores 7: (0-1 Overall)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.
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