While 2020 was a huge blow to many schools as athletes were not given the chance to showcase their skills live in front of college coaches, you can add Monarch to that growing list.
What head coach Dante Lombari and assistant head coach Calvin Davis went through was indeed something that the players and coaches will never forget. Something that brought reality close to home.
What happened to the Knights was Covid, and while many teams steered clear of the virus, it ultimately stopped the season and not getting a chance to at least play for a Tri-County 8A title.
On the field this team was unbeaten. With five victories over Taravella (39-0), Northeast (50-0), Coral Springs (28-14), Coconut Creek (33-6) and South Dade (35-0), there was a great feeling that with the talent on hand, they could pose a true threat.
With last season firmly behind them, the Knights are looking toward spring. It will be an important time as jobs will be up for grabs, and some younger talent will push. But let us not make any mistake. This is a senior-oriented squad with leadership and experience in place – on the field and on the sidelines
What will lead this team on both sides of the ball is experience and knowledge, along with leadership – and with quarterback/athlete Bryan Lodge (6-3, 185) making plays with his arm and legs – and defensive rush specialist Shannard Lo-Ray (6-3, 225), who has been on every college list, for good reason. There is also impressive Isaiah McCloud (LB, 5-10, 225).
In addition to the always dangerous Lodge, play-making McCloud and the dependable Lo-Ray, the Knights also feature Giorgio Bianchi (OL, 6-2, 285), Mateo Castillo (OL, 5-11, 255), Josh Clovin (WR/CB, 5-10, 150), Tyrece Carey (RB, 5-11, 165) and receiver Ryan Gayle (6-0, 170), who are all ready to make that next step.
Also, look for talented and rangy cornerback Jayden Herbert (6-3, 180), Anthony Meloni (WR, 5-7, 170), Alexander Peres (WR, 5-10, 170), Dylan Spaeder (OL, 6-3, 275) and defensive end Logan Williams (6-2, 215) to make a major impact in their final high school season.
UNDERCLASSMEN WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO LEARN
As there is so much talent in this rising senior class, look for the talented athletes in 2023 and 2024 to add to that quality depth on both sides of the ball.
Gifted performers like Lionel Alcira (WR, 6-3, 155), Griffin Johnston (DE/TE, 6-2, 180) and Leonard Layun (DE – “Edge”, 6-0, 170) – all who have plenty of promise and are indeed talented.
Don’t sleep on the Class of 2024 standouts Ayushaun Hairston (QB, 6-2, 220) and Terrell Lo-Ray (WR, 5-11, 155).