When Monroe High School restarted its football program in 2014 after a 30-year hiatus, head coach Jason Muhammad knew it would be a tough job.
“We had no footballs, we had no shoulder pads, we had helmets,” said Muhammad before practice on Thursday. “We didn’t have any blocking sleds or cones, we didn’t really have anything.”
Monroe’s first varsity season was 2016. The Red Jackets won one game. Last year, they won two games. All without playing at home. Muhammad, his staff, and his players are still climbing the ranks in Section V.
“Coach Muhammad has been like another father to me,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Tyquil Glasgow. “We’ve been through so much with school, football.”
As part of the Rochester City School District modernization project, Monroe received 94-million dollars in renovations which included a new artificial turf field. The Red Jackets now have a home.
“It means everything to me. It’s really hard for me to explain,” said senior running back and defensive lineman Felton Henderson. “We came from nothing and now we here.”
When Monroe takes its new field on Saturday to face East High, it’ll be the Red Jackets first home game since 1986. This is only a field, but it means so much more.
“There is greatness within you, young boy, and this is just giving you a tool,” said Muhammad. “If you can manifest greatness on a field, you can manifest greatness in the classroom, you can manifest greatness after you cross the stage at graduation and just in your life. It’s just a field, but it’s so much more than a field, because it represents the investment that we’re making in young people.”