Monroe Catholic defeats Seward in first high school football game in America this fall

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:27 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2021 high school football season in the United States kicked off Thursday when the Monroe Catholic Rams hosted the Seward Seahawks at Kiwanis Field in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The season starts a little earlier in the 49th State, with the end of the eight-week season often met by snow and cold temperatures. High schools in Hawaii were set to begin their 2021 campaign in early August, but the Oahu Interscholastic Association elected to push the start of fall sports back to late September.

“It’s awesome, man,” Monroe head coach Kyle Allison said about week one. “It’s just good being out here, smelling the grass, seeing the paint, the fans and everybody, it’s just a great thing, this is what football’s about. I love just being out here and being able to coach kids again.”

The Rams ensured to make the opening kickoff to the 2021 high school football season in America one to remember, as senior Carter Barney shed tacklers down the field on his way to an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to set the tone for the fall football season across the country.

“As soon as the first kid bounced off me, I saw an opening and I knew I was gone,” Barney said. I was trying not to celebrate the first play, but it felt good. It just shows that I started where I left off and hope to keep it going.”

However, Barney’s awe-inspiring day was just getting started, as on the ensuing defensive possession, Barney the ball hawk snatched a pass out of the air for an interception, setting Monroe’s offense up near midfield.

Barney was rewards on the very first play with a pass near the sideline, dancing his way through defenders and to the house for another score.

Through 2 minutes and 19 seconds of game, Barney had touched the ball three times, resulting in two touchdowns and an interception. Following a Seahawks punt, quarterback Robert McGee plunged into the end zone and after a successful two-point conversion from McGee to Billy Bast, the Rams had a controlling 22-0 lead before the first quarter came to a close.

A nine-play drive was capped off by another McGee rushing touchdown, before he took it in himself on the two-point attempt to make it a 30-0 ball game heading into halftime.

Barney carried his monstrous first half into quarter number three as on Seward’s first possession, the defensive back connected on a hit that jarred the ball loose before being recovered by Stephan Felix for Barney’s second forced turnover of the season-opener.

To put a bow on a brilliant performance, Barney won a jump ball in the end zone coming off the arm of McGee, wrestling the ball away from the defender in midair to cap off the scoring in a 38-8 win over their Division III and Denali Conference counterpart.

McGee, a newcomer from West Valley High School, shined in his debut with the Blue and Gold. The Rams signal caller threw for over 150 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for over 150 yards and two touchdowns, smoothly filling the role of recent Monroe graduate Shaun Conwell Jr., who is off to play quarterback at the Division II collegiate level.

“Oh yeah, we’re family already,” McGee said of how the team has embrace him this year. “We are just trying to do our job and just need to keep our heads high and push through.”

After a great start to the 2021 season, the Rams will have a quick turnaround when the Nikiski Bulldogs travel to Fairbanks Tuesday for another conference bout.

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