After outlasting the rest of the county in the state playoffs, the Monroe football team placed a county-high 12 players across The Enquirer-Journal’s 2021 All-County football teams.
The Redhawks finished the regular season 5-2 and upset Statesville and Kings Mountain in the first two rounds of the 3A tournament before falling to Charlotte Catholic. Monroe won three of the four year-end awards given out by The Enquirer-Journal, headlined by Most Valuable Player, which was awarded to Monroe senior Jack Crump.
In his final season with the Redhawks, Crump led all county players in rushing yards (895), rushing touchdowns (seven) and total tackles (85) to go with four tackles for loss and an interception. The 5-foot-10 senior ran for at least 80 yards and a touchdown in six of the team’s final seven games.
Earning offensive player of the year honors in his first full season of varsity football was Monroe sophomore quarterback Khamoni Robinson. After a slow start to the season, Robinson found a groove midway through the year and finished 2021 as the county leader in passing yards (1,874) and passing touchdowns (17) while completing over 61% of his pass attempts. Monroe head coach Johnny Sowell was named The Enquirer-Journal’s 2021 Union County Coach of the Year after leading the Redhawks to their first west regional final since 2015.
Joining Crump and Robinson on the first team from Monroe were junior receivers Shaleak Knotts and Elliot Reid, senior offensive linemen Omarion and Jemarion Rushing and sophomore defensive end Bryce Davis. Knotts and Reid were honored as first-team selections at both receiver and defensive back after combining for 64 catches, 1,153 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Second-team Monroe honorees included senior receiver Jordan Black, senior offensive lineman Omarion Huntley and senior linebacker Ricardo Brown.
Weddington was the closest team to Monroe in terms of all-county honorees, placing 10 across the two teams. The Warriors first-team offensive selections were all senior offensive linemen — Alex McLaughlin, Austin Pronk and Nick Aderholdt. Weddington seniors Bryson Parker and Jalen Newman were both named first-team defensive backs after holding down the secondary for the Warriors in 2021.
On the second team, Weddington was represented by senior quarterback Dante Casciola, junior running back Kyle Parsons, senior offensive lineman Will Owens, senior defensive end Joe Zovistoski, senior defensive end Cole Wiseman and junior kicker Matthew Moonan. Parsons and Moonan will be Weddington’s only returning all-county players this fall.
Earning defensive player of the year honors for the 2021 spring season was Porter Ridge junior Malachi Howell, who led the team in tackles (46), tackles for loss (11.0), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (2) in just seven games. Howell and sophomore ROVER Stephan Zayachkowsky — who racked up 35 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble and two blocked punts — was Porter Ridge’s other first-team all-county selection.
Marvin Ridge placed six players across the all-county teams. Representing the Mavericks on the first team were senior kicker Caden Noonkester (8-of-9 PAT, 4-of-4 FG, long 38 yards), junior defensive end Brady Villa (7.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks) and senior linebacker Tanner Blackwell (50 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.0 sack). Three of Marvin Ridge’s secondary members — junior Luke Raykovicz and seniors Ethan Robitaille and Bryce Yaggi — were recognized as second-team honorees.
Other schools with multiple all-county selections were Cuthbertson, Parkwood and Forest Hills. Representing the Cavaliers on the first team as a receiver and returner was junior A.J. Colombo, who led the county with 49 catches despite only playing in six games. Cutbertson had four players make the second-team — junior receiver Alex Meeks, senior offensive lineman Myles Lopez, junior offensive lineman Trevor Tate, junior linebacker Anthony Goodloe and senior linebacker Kurt Petroff.
Parkwood had no first-team honorees, but sophomores Wisdom Holmes and Isaiah Mobley and juniors Cody Hardy and Kamran Adams all made the second team. Forest Hills’ two second-team selections were senior offensive lineman Jacob Mullins and sophomore returner Ja Coffey.
Piedmont and Sun Valley both placed one player on the all-county teams. Piedmont senior Ty Nicholas was a first-team selection and in the running for county defensive player of the year honors after totaling 32 tackles, 11.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks.
THE ENQUIRER-JOURNAL’S ALL-COUNTY FOOTBALL TEAMS
Most Valuable Player: Jack Crump, Sr., Monroe
Offensive Player of the Year: Khamoni Robinson, So., Monroe
Defensive Player of the Year: Malachi Howell, Jr., Porter Ridge
Coach of the Year: Johnny Sowell, Monroe
QB: Khamoni Robinson, So., Monroe
RB: Jack Crump, Sr., Monroe
RB: O’Marion Taylor, Jr., Porter Ridge
WR: Shaleak Knotts, Jr., Monroe
WR: Elliot Reid, Jr., Monroe
WR/TE: A.J. Colombo, Jr., Cuthbertson
OL: Omarion Rushing, Sr., Monroe
OL: Jemarion Rushing, Sr., Monroe
OL: Alex McLaughlin, Sr., Weddington
OL: Austin Pronk, Sr., Weddington
OL: Nick Aderholt, Sr., Weddington
K/P: Caden Noonkester, Sr., Marvin Ridge
DL: Ty Nicholas, Sr., Piedmont
DL: Malachi Howell, Jr., Porter Ridge
DL: Bryce Davis, So., Monroe
DL: Brady Villa, Jr., Marvin Ridge
LB: Tanner Blackwell, Sr., Marvin Ridge
LB: Jack Crump, Sr., Monroe
ROVER: Stephan Zayachkowsky, So., Porter Ridge
DB: Bryson Parker, Sr., Weddington
DB: Jalen Newman, Sr., Weddington
DB: Elliot Reid, Jr., Monroe
DB: Shaleak Knotts, Jr., Monroe
Returner: A.J. Colombo, Jr., Cuthbertson
QB: Dante Casciola, Sr., Weddington
RB: Wisdom Holmes, So., Parkwood
RB: Kyle Parsons, Jr., Weddington
WR: Jordan Black, Sr., Monroe
WR: Isaiah Mobley, So., Parkwood
WR/TE: Alex Meeks, Jr., Cuthbertson
OL: Jacob Mullins, Sr., Forest Hills
OL: Myles Lopez, Sr., Cuthbertson
OL: Will Owens, Sr., Weddington
OL: Omarion Huntley, Sr., Monroe
OL: Trevor Tate, Jr., Cuthbertson
K/P: Matthew Moonan, Jr., Weddington
DL: Cody Hardy, Jr., Parkwood
DL: Kamran Adams, Jr., Parkwood
DL: Joe Zovistoski, Sr., Weddington
DL: Cole Wiseman, Sr., Weddington
LB: Kurt Petroff, Sr., Cuthbertson
LB: Anthony Goodloe, Jr., Cuthbertson
ROVER: Ricardo Brown, Sr., Monroe
DB: Bryce Yaggi, Sr., Marvin Ridge
DB: Eli Fletcher, So., Sun Valley
DB: Luke Raykovicz, Jr., Marvin Ridge
DB: Ethan Robitaille, Sr., Marvin Ridge
Returner: Ja Coffey, So., Forest Hills