Elliott Reed

Monroe’s Elliott Reed, right, is one of the seniors coach Johnny Sowell feels especially bad for because COVID protocols have shredded the team’s schedule. Through three games, Reed leads Monroe in receiving with 13 catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s also had two interceptions as a defensive back.

In what has become the new normal for the Monroe High football team this season, the Redhawks did not get to play Friday night (Oct. 1) as originally scheduled.

Monroe was supposed to play at Anson on Friday in its Rocky River Conference opener, but the game has been postponed because of contact-tracing rules. For now, the Redhawks have tentatively moved the game to Tuesday, Oct. 12.

Right now, Monroe is scheduled to play three games in a eight-day stretch: West Rowan on Oct. 8, at Anson on Oct. 12 and Parkwood on Oct. 15. Through Week 7 of the 2021 fall season, Monroe has played just three games (2-1 record).

On Friday, Redhawks head coach Johnny Sowell shared his frustrations with how it has gone this season.

“It’s very disappointing right now. It puts a lot of strain on a lot of people,” Sowell said about the postponements and cancellations. “That’s really the only thing I can say. We’re just doing the best we can do with what’s in our hands.”

Sowell said Week 7 is the fourth time this season Monroe has gone through Monday-Wednesday practice preparing for a specific opponent before the game was ultimately postponed or canceled.

Monroe is considered among the favorites to win the RRC conference title this fall, but the Redhawks might not be able to win the title if they don’t play enough conference games this season. Right now there are only five RRC football teams including Monroe, and the Redhawks are scheduled to play all four other teams between Oct. 12 and Oct. 29.

“We’ve just been operating as, ‘O.K. we have so-and-so this week. If that goes away, we have so-and-so next week.’ This is our gameplan,” Sowell said. “We get everything ready to go by Wednesday and then by Thursday we know whether we’re going to play or we’re not going to play, but by that time the gameplan’s already in ... It’s a lot tougher on the seniors, and I’ve told them, ‘This is your senior year, but we’ve got to do things the right way and protect ourselves.’ It’s really tough.”

Monroe is 2-1 on the season. While the year has been filled with frustration, there have also been a few bright spots that have Sowell excited about the future.

In the backfield, sophomore Nate Crosby has carried the ball 41 times for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Monroe’s top player in terms of receiving yards this season has been freshman Jordan Young, who has caught seven passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

“Those two guys are our future,” Sowell said. “We’re going to lose six seniors next year. We’re loaded with juniors, but the position we’re going to lose some of those seniors, those underclassmen are going to be those guys who will have to fill those spots. We’ve got a junior group that will come back heavy and some of those freshmen and sophomores who are getting playing time now we’re hoping they’ll be a positive for us now and in the next couple years.”