Monarchs open district schedule with win

When the Meadowbrook Monarchs opened their Central District season this past Friday night, they expected a tough matchup with the Blue Devils out of Hopewell. The game was hard fought in the trenches, but, ultimately, Meadowbrook would start its district schedule with a 27-7 win over Hopewell.

“Coach Irby is doing a heck of a job with these guys,” said Meadowbrook head coach Troy Taylor. “Hopewell played us harder than any team we’ve played all year, they played us tough, they played us physical.”

Meadowbrook’s first drive came to a screeching halt on a fourth-down sack by the Blue Devils. The Monarch’s next drive would prove to be very different.

On the first play of the drive, senior running back Demico Phillips took off on a 70-yard touchdown run, dodging defenders, breaking tackles and using the whole field to score. The Monarchs led 6-0.

One Monarchs drive later, it was Phillips again, this time on a 14-yard run up the right sideline.

“Demico is a great kid and a great running back,” said Taylor. “He just needs a little space and he’s going to make something happen.”

Before the close of the second half, off a Monarchs fumble, Hopewell would drive the length of the field on a 13-play drive, completing four of seven pass attempts. After a failed attempt to get into the end zone on first down, senior linebacker Leon Austin intercepted the Blue Devils pass in the end zone to end the first half, leaving Hopewell trailing by a 12-0 mark.

“We knew we just had to lock up our receivers,” said Austin. “I was able to break on the ball and get the pick.”

The Monarchs came out running in the second half, as well, reaching pay dirt twice more and extending their lead to 27-0 on a pair of touchdowns by sophomore Gerard Johnson and junior Jeremy Cuthrell. Johnson also converted the two-point conversion on his touchdown.

The Meadowbrook defense played well all game and forced three turnovers. After the Austin pick to thwart a Blue Devils scoring attempt, Meadowbrook defensive back Adrian Glover also nabbed a pick of his own, and the Monarchs forced a third-quarter fumble that was recovered by linebacker Renard Rowe.

It wasn’t until the Blue Devils last drive that they found the end zone on a 51-yard touchdown pass, which nixed the Monarch’s shutout bid.

Demico Phillips was the standout for Meadowbrook, rushing for 218 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Phillips yardage was a part of the 364 yards that Meadowbrook rushed for overall against the Blue Devil defense.

“Our offensive line is getting better every week,” said Phillips. “Coach West works hard with them and I think he does a great job.”

Meadowbrook’s offensive line features some of the biggest players in the Central District, with five linemen over 265 pounds or more.

The Monarchs improved to 2-2 on the season, and 1-0 in the Central District. They will take their big offensive line on the road to Dinwiddie this Friday as they take on the Generals and one of the best quarterbacks in the district, Chris Hall.

“Next we have Dinwiddie, we know how good they are, it’s their homecoming,” said Taylor. “They have Chris Hall, one of the best quarterbacks in the state, and Cory Marshall one of the best defensive linemen in the state. Both are going to Virginia Tech, we have to play better as a team.”

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