Meadowbrook football has long been a powerhouse under the leadership of head coach Bill Bowles. Bowles was able to lead his team to district and regional title games, and then to the state championship game, which they won in 2004. But Bowles’ tenure at Meadowbrook came to an end last year upon his retirement. Some might think the Monarchs’ success would have halted with the transition; however, they were fortunate to welcome back former assistant coach to Bowles, Troy Taylor.
“I learned a lot from [Bowles],” Taylor says “He taught me about the passing game, defense, hard work, dedication, and developing relationships with players.”
Taylor brings in a lot of experience in football and with teams from the area. He is a 1996 graduate of L. C. Bird and a 2000 graduate of UVA Wise, where he played football for three years. After graduation, he returned to his alma mater and coached JV’s offensive and defensive line at L. C. Bird. After only a year, he moved to Meadowbrook. Starting off as JV defensive coordinator in 2001, he advanced to varsity line coach later to quarterback coach from 2004-2007, when he left Meadowbrook and headed for a head coaching job at Amelia County High School.
The lessons he took from Bowles have proven to be very valuable for a football team like Meadowbrook. Meadowbrook is looking at a very challenging schedule this season. They face tough match-ups in Matoaca, Thomas Dale, and Dinwiddie: all district foes.
“All three are tough match-ups,” Taylor says. “They have great coaches like Vic Williams, Pat Manuel, and Billy Mills.”
Mills, Dinwiddie’s head coach, took his team all the way to the AAA-Division 5 state title game last year in Blacksburg, but lost to Phoebus, 37-13.
Taylor remains optimistic about the season. He holds a lot of confidence in not only his team, but his coaching staff as well. His entire coach staff of five assistants coached under Bowles, all of whom were born and raised in the area: Tony Taylor (L. C. Bird class of ’96), Randy West (Meadowbrook class of ’98), Jimmie Rodgers (Meadowbrook class of ’80), Eric Richardson (Meadowbrook class of ’90), and Jimmy Phillips (Thomas Dale class of ’89).
The coach who has been by his side since the beginning is his defensive coordinator and twin brother, Tony.
“Tony brings a lot with him,” Taylor says. “We know how each other thinks and we have very similar philosophies about the sport.”
This season, the Monarchs have an unfamiliar challenge in their schedule. They are scheduled to play Norview High School in Norfolk on Friday, September 25. Norview is nearly two hours away, which could pose a threat to the team’s focus. Taylor has experience with long bus rides from his time at Amelia High School, so he plans to turn that distance into a positive to gain momentum, heading into district play week four when they host Hopewell.
With the loss of linemen Morgan Moses to UVA and Derek Tinsley to graduation, the Monarch line could be weakened. However, Taylor and the team will have to be able to fill the void. In addition, Desmond Coble is in his senior year. As a fourth-year starter quarterback, Taylor believes Coble is ready for a greater leadership role.
“Coble has learned from a lot of good players,” Taylor says. “He is quick on his feet and has a strong arm. We will use his strength to our advantage.”
Meadowbrook has also found some rising talent in middle linebacker Tevin Hanley and wide receiver Jacaurey Thomas, and Taylor sees both of them taking on a larger role.
The Monarchs appear to have all the keys to a successful season; regardless, Taylor stays true to his philosophy of the game.
“Winning football games is great but developing young men is the key,” Taylor says. “Helping them go to college, teaching them life lessons about dedication, commitment, and hard work that they will use the rest of their lives.”