The final time a group of seniors takes the field is always special, but for a senior class like Monticello’s that has been through a lot of turmoil and with a head coach finishing his first season with the program, there seemed to be extra motivation to close out the year on a high note for the Mustangs.
“It feels great getting this win here in our last game, we knew we could make it happen, and so we did,” said Monticello senior Malachi Fields.
With Fields leading the way by ringing up six touchdowns on the night, the Mustangs got it done against Fluvanna, rolling to a 55-21 victory. The victory not only closes the door on the key seniors’ careers because the playoff help that the Mustangs needed didn’t materialize, but also the program’s first season with Matt Hicks at the helm.
“I was just telling those seniors this was a heck of an emotional year for me and for them, there were times where as a first-year head coach at your dream school and them being seniors with so much they wanted to do this season, we were all in limbo for so long,” said Hicks. “We talked about what it was like going on that emotional roller coaster where we were meeting in zoom and never really sure if this season was going to happen, and when it did, seeing the joy and the excitement and energy from game one.”
It was Fields who got things going early on his first carry of the game, racing 67 yards to the endzone to give his team a 7-0 lead. Fields finished with 191 rushing yards on six carries with three touchdowns, while going 10-for-11 through the air with 141 yards and two touchdowns, and a 79-yard kickoff return that put his team in front 14-7.
But the Flucos weren’t going to back down without a fight, and after Fields broke that early scoring run off, Fluvanna marched down the field and tied the game on a rushing touchdown from offensive lineman Ryan Morris. The Flucos would score two more touchdowns in the game, both coming from Xavier Copeland who finished with 105 yards on 12 carries.
After the Flucos tied the game 14-14 however, the Mustangs completely took over and scored 20 answered points to take a 34-14 lead at the break. They didn’t let up from there either, keeping firm control of the game with help from a few other key performances. Will Trent had two receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown, and fellow senior Kai Gaines also caught a touchdown pass.
The big win marks the end of the careers for a big Mustang senior class that will leave some big shoes to fill for next year’s team.
“They’re starting to realize from these upperclassmen that great teams aren’t built at the beginning of the season, these seniors are multi-sport athletes and take care of their bodies and get better at their craft,” said Hicks. “That leadership and that example meant a lot, they saw guys that came to practice with joy and passion and energy, and gave it everything every day.”