This summer, BoCoPreps.com will take an early look at each area football team ahead of the fall season and in this installment, we look at Monarch.
A new era of football is underway at Monarch High School, where Aaron Paddock takes the helm following the retirement of his predecessor Phil Bravo.
For all that is unknown about what lies ahead for the Coyotes’ second coach since 1998, the longtime assistant and close friend of Bravo has already made it clear that he won’t be a carbon copy of the legendary coach.
New terminology, new looks, and even an expected new offense, going away from Bravo’s trademark double-wing formation, are already being taught.
“It’s the challenge of kind of starting from scratch in terms of understanding the system,” said Paddock, who was officially announced as Monarch’s coach in January. “Your terminology is different. Your rules are different. How you read a play, how you set up a play, how you block a play — things kind of operate differently. So even with your most seasoned veteran kids you kind of have to go back to square one and start from that point.”
In preparation for the fall, the Coyotes had a camp near the end of the school year to get familiar with some new concepts. They then had organized team activities throughout the summer, including a 7-on-7 league, which further presages a team expected to throw more than it has since, maybe, the Clinton Administration.
Junior Asher Ewing, the starting quarterback last fall, with a total of 48 total passing attempts, will compete with sophomores Sawyer Kendall and Riley Montemayor for the starting role this season.
Senior Jimmy Grace. Jimmy G’, the BoCoPreps.com all-region lineman and all-state honorable mention, was the centerpiece to what the Coyotes wanted to do on both sides of the ball last season.
A run stuffer in the middle of the defense, while also an expert guard for the Coyotes’ 2021 rushing attack, Paddock called him the quiet leader of the team.
“We go the way Jimmy goes,” the coach said. “He leads us in workouts. He’s our strongest kid. He’s our anchor on both sides of the line of scrimmage.”
Grace was also a first teamer in the region for wrestling this past winter, reaching the state semifinals while finishing fourth in the Class 5A 285-pound weight class.
Star in the making
Junior Owen Mellish could be a huge beneficiary of a more pass-friendly offense. Paddock sees something special in him.
As a sophomore, Mellish showcased his elite track speed as a defensive back and also caught six balls inside the Coyotes’ run-focused offense. Paddock loves the junior’s size — listed at 6-1, 180 pounds on his Twitter — and his speed. Maybe even more so, he touted his work ethic and competitive drive.
“As we’ve gone this summer and thrown the ball a little bit, he will go up and compete for the ball,” Paddock said. “He runs great routes. He’s just committed to really putting his stamp on the program.”
Solidifying a presence
So much about Monarch is unknown heading into the fall. A new coach and a new system for one. Gone is Bravo, who won two state titles with the Coyotes, and so is the team’s standout running back over the past couple seasons, Keiran Singh. He graduated after amassing 2,732 career yards on the ground.
But there’s excitement, too, and that’s undeniable.
The new coach, Paddock, is highly regarded as a teacher and coach around the community. He praises the help he’ll have. While seemingly always having the ear of mentor Bravo, Paddock said there is also a lot of alumni on his staff who have championship pedigree with the program. The Coyotes went 2-8 last fall.