By: Matt Rothman
Monarch High School’s magical football season ended on Saturday night, falling 35-28 in overtime to Palm Beach Central High School.
The Knights had a record-setting season and won their first District Championship since 2014. They finished the season with nine wins and picked up a dominant victory over West Boca Raton Community High School in the opening round of the postseason.
The Knights started the game off slow, falling behind 14-0, but the Knights responded with 20 unanswered points to take a 20-14 lead at halftime. AJ Hairston started the scoring with a rushing touchdown before Willie Reed scored twice to give the Knights their first-game lead.
In the second half, the Gators retook the lead. They added another touchdown to go up 28-20, but Hairston connected with Samari Reed for a touchdown, and the Knights converted the two-point conversion on a trick play to send the game to overtime.
Palm Beach Central, though, struck first in overtime and got a stop and top-seeded Palm Beach Gardens in the Regional Final after they knocked out Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Friday.
The incredible season for Hairston ended after the star quarterback threw for over 3,000 yards and had 32 touchdown passes. He. He also added 300 yards on the ground and had seven rushing scores, while Reed rushed for over 900 yards and ten touchdowns.
Jesse Field fields shined this year at wide receiver. He accumulated over 1,000 receiving yards, while Florida Atlantic commit Walter Parrish had seven. Freshman Jabri Brady had finished second on the team in yards, followed by Josh Pena. Both players scored six touchdowns, while Reed and Mark Harris each caught two for scores.
Defensively, Gavin Peacock led the team in tackles. He also had the most sacks, with Corey Ebert right behind him. Roderick Parker finished the season third in tackles, and Brayden Slade led the team with five interceptions.
While Monarch has several players graduating this year, they will still return many key players, including Hairston, who is still uncommitted. They will also get a boost with the addition of many junior varsity players next year.
- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student. He also works for the Mohave Valley Daily News in Bullhead City, Arizona covering high school sports.
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