By Logan Sewell
The Monroe Hornets were welcomed back home in style Saturday night after their regional championship game victory over Valley View.
When the team bus exited off of I-75 to Route 63, they were greeted by a Monroe Fire Department truck with its red and white lights flashing, providing an escort back to the school campus. That wasn't the only surprise waiting for them.
Upon arrival at the school, they saw fans in their cars or standing by them lining the long winding driveway on the hill leading up to the school building. As the buses drove by, fans honked their car horns and cheered the team all the way to the locker room behind the school building, where head coach Jason Krause's mother provided sandwiches and treats.
"It pumped me up to hear the crowd out here (at Cincinnati Princeton High school)," said senior co-captain, Shae Michael, who plays tight end on offense and starts on the line on defense, "We're thankful to have a crowd like this (Hornet fans overflowed the visitors' side) to come out here to help us and support us."
The night was especially sweet for seniors such as Michael . He and the other seniors had only seen three victories in their high school years until this year. Now they are Monroe's single-season, all-time winningest team.
On a team filled with stars, Michael doesn't get headlines, but is known as one of the Hornets' most reliable players.
He proved that against Valley View with some crucial receptions on offense and key tackles on defense. A solid blocker, he was sent out on more routes than usual. Michael had a third-quarter, 73-yard touchdown reception and a crucial fourth down conversion in the final period. He totaled four receptions for 96 yards.
"They think that I'm a good blocker, that's what they need me for and that's what I'm going to do," said Michael, "They tell me what to do and I go out and do it."
Sophomore quarterback Tyler Osterman was ready to tuck it and run on the touchdown play that Michael had his 73-yard touchdown reception.
"I saw the guys on the left weren't open, but then I saw Shae running down the sideline," Osterman said.
Coach Krause said Valley View was focused on stopping explosive wide receivers senior Pat Harrington and junior Josh Herron. Michael is not only a good receiver, but is also one of the fastest players on Monroe.
'With the addition of Josh this year, making a lot more catches, we ran the ball a lot better this year, and there just weren't that many balls to go around," said Krause, "But Shae's done a nice job sticking with what we ask him to do, being a team player, and people forget about him. He had some big catches tonight."
The careers of Michael and the other seniors continue at least one more game as they will face Coldwater in the State Semifinal next Saturday night with the site still to be determined Sunday afternoon.
(For more coverage of the Hornets' 35-21 victory, see today's Middletown Journal.)