By Logan Sewell
MONROE _ The celebration goes on for Monroe’s fans.
They filled the stands again Saturday night as they watched Monroe rout Madeira 41-16. The Hornets advanced to the regional semifinals, to play at a neutral game site against Jonathan Alder, who also won Saturday night.
This fast-growing city of 9,500 people has turned out in record numbers all year long to support the Hornets in their state-of-the-art stadium.
“Pretty much, Monroe is awesome,” junior Nolan Phelps, who was painted blue for the game, said as the final seconds ticked off. “We got a brand new stadium, our football team is kicking butt, and we got great fan support.”
“I’m real proud of the team and all these boys are real good boys,” said longtime resident Glen Majors, who has three grandsons on the team—Michael and Dennis Majors and Tad Kilburn. “This is the beginning of a new era for Monroe, with a new school, new stadium, and good teams.”
The buildup for Monroe’s first playoff game in 11 years reached a fever pitch Friday afternoon as the junior high and senior high students packed the gymnasium for a pep rally, and Mayor Bob Routson declared Nov. 4 “Monroe Hornet football day" and presented head coach Jason Krause with a plaque.
Thursday night, it was standing room only at Capozzi’s Restaurant in Middletown for WPFB’s radio broadcast featuring the Hornets football team.
Players said the fans have been loyal, even though Monroe won only three games the previous three years.
“They came out and supported us through wins and losses, they’ve been here through tough times,” said senior linebacker Michael Majors. He said seeing fans flocking to the stadium, some coming hours ahead of game time to tailgate, has added to the Hornets’ motivation.
“That’s a big help to us to go out there and play hard, knowing that we have the whole community behind us,” he said.
All year long, community and student fans have been buying Monroe hoodies, shirts, sweaters, caps, and other accessories, creating a sea of blue and gold in the stands. New MML championship and playoff shirts went on sale Saturday night.
Athletic Director John Singleton, also a former Hornet player, was head coach of Monroe’s last MML South championship team back in 1994.
“I remember in ’94 we had a great fan following all year,” said Singleton, “and this year’s just been great, too… The people in Monroe want to support our schools and our kids, want to be positive, and this year we gave it to them.”
He noted that Monroe is much bigger now, about double in population since 1994.
Monroe’s new stadium has been a source of pride both for the community and its teams and the fall season has seen not only the football team finish with an outstanding record but also both the girls and boys soccer teams.
Singleton said: “You almost sense the pride our kids and everyone have, when they get out there and it’s like, this is OUR house!”
Michael Majors, whose father also played for the Hornets, grew up across the road from the present site of the new school: “It doesn’t matter whether it was 1994 or 2005, I love Hornet fans, no matter what.”As happy fans streamed out of the stadium after the football team finished a perfect 7-0 at home, Singleton
remarked, “This was a perfect ending to a great year at Monroe.”