KHQA/ADVANCE Barnstorm Tour: MONROE CITY/PARIS OPENER TAKES ON WHOLE NEW VIBE
With over 27 hundred aireal yards last fall, Ryan Watson's Paris Coyotes were the second most prolific passing team in the State of Missouri.
After a falling out with the high school administration, Watson resigned his position and returned home to his alma mater, Monroe City, as the teams new Offensive Coordinator.
Coincidentally enough, the Panthers first foe this season: Watson's ex-employer. Those same Paris Coyotes.
Meanwhile, if I was a smart man, I'd buy ice futures in Titletown...because Monroe Quarterback Shawn Maloney is about to see his per-game passing attempts go through the roof....and he may have to soothe the arm.
Shawn Maloney: "I love to throw the ball around, obviously. (Ryan) Watson did a great job with (Joe) Gilliam last year. I can't be anything but real excited when he comes in...Oh, it's been a blast. He brings an entirely new skill set to the offense. He's gotten out and taught us stuff in the off-season and the skill guys worked real hard. I think we are ready to go."
Tony DeGrave: "Great guy. Great motivator for these kids. You bring in a head coach heere who has had great success with the program he built in Paris. It is just an asset to Monroe City, as for the town, these football kids, and the kids in the high school."
In quest to return Monroe City to the prominence of his playing days, Tony DeGrave wooed back his old high school quarterback to run the Panther Offense. Now Ryan Watson finds himself with a toy box full of shiny gridiron goodies to employ in his high octane spread offense attack. It starts with QB Shawn Maloney, a multi-dimensional threat coming off an 1800 yard passing season. And it extends to what might be the Tri-States most unsung group of quality wide outs in Joe Chinn, 600 yard producer Shawn Powell, and intriguing Sophomore Tight End Austin Reynolds.
Maloney: "Yeah, our receivers, they worked really hard this off-season. Lifted real hard. They were here 4-5 days as week putting hard work in. They are a lot better than I think a lot of people got them."
It is, however, the potential of the running game that could really electrify the Monroe attack. And that means finding more and better touches for Brandon Waters.
Brandon Waters: "Hopefully, I can kind of repeat my Sophomore Year and even more. Show a little more on Defense. Show a little more with my pass catching. And all of those litte type of things."
DeGrave: "Our running back and our QB positions, that is a solid bunch of kids with Shawn Maloney and Brandon Waters. These kids have worked hard in the off-season. They are going to be our two captains. I don't think that anybody around the area gives these two kids enough credit. Teams are going to have a lot of problems defensing us because of those two."
Monroe City's one Achilles Heel is line play, where the Panthers are trying to find three starters in support of quality returnees Jared Hagen and Ryan Meyers. Defensively, Tony DeGrave quietly returns six starters. A unit without a "name" superstar until Joe Chinn and his 110 tackle campaign of a year ago starts getting its due respect.
DeGrave: "Yeah, I think we are going to put a lot more speed out there than people are expecting from our team. And that is what we are going to build around. It is going to be a no-name defense. I think we will build it around Joe Chinn in the Defensive Backfield and Shawn Maloney. He will be one of the premier Corners in the Conference. You'll look for Brandon Waters to make some tackles. Throw in some other guys in there also that will step up and make plays...I think people are going to have a hard time handling Joe this year. He just runs very well. Doesn't miss takcles. Very strong kid. Worked hard in the off-season. You know if we had 11 Joe Chinn's on this team, we might only practice once a day. These guys are all in awe of how Joe's work ethic is and I think he's a true example of how these other kids wanna come up in this program.