As the final seconds ticked away in the 2A state championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Frederick Douglass High School senior Demory Monroe tried to gather his emotions as he stood in the embrace of a coach.
He wasn’t the only upset player after losing to Middletown, 30-12, for the second straight season, but he may have been the most visibly shook. He did everything he could while leading the Eagles with six catches for 163 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s hard right now because I’ve been dying for this moment ever since I was seven,” Monroe said. “I watched all my brothers come up through high school, play ball, see them get their rings. They always wear their rings. Sometimes I tried on theirs. I was hoping to get one today, but what the outcome was, it wasn’t that. But for the most part I have to keep going.”
Middletown focused its defensive efforts on star receiver Paul Harris by putting two defensive backs on him nearly every play. That opened things up for Monroe, who wasn’t among the Eagles’ top three receivers statistically entering the contest.
With Douglass’ offense stalling in the first half, Monroe jump started the unit with its first gain of more than 10 yards — a 46-yard catch which put the Eagles inside the Middletown 20 for the first time with just more than two minutes left until halftime. It was also freshman quarterback Devin Butler’s first completion.
His next catch was more important.
After Middletown scored a touchdown and took a 16-0 lead, the Butler to Monroe connection struck again — this time on a 59-yard score — on the first play of the drive.
“He went bananas,” Douglass coach J.C. Pinkney said. “When you perform the way he performed, you kind of wish that we had that performance overall as a team. He made some special plays today and we needed a few more guys to make those kinds of plays for us to come out with a victory today.”
This was Monroe’s first year at Douglass after transferring from DeMatha. Though the season ended one win short of the team’s ultimate goal, Monroe will still look back on the season fondly.
“Even during the offseason, coming from DeMatha to here, I was like, ‘Alright, it’s a new beginning for me,’” he said. “We started [passing league] in May. The only thing I told Coach Pinkney was, ‘Anytime I’m on offense, I’m going to get open. I’m going to score.’ That was my motto the whole season.”