50-in-50: Monroe Area

After three straight playoff appearances, the Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes have changed how their seasons are judged and the expectations – at least, those from outside the program – are at levels surpassing anything the Walton County school has seen.

To meet those expectations, Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg is using spring drills to shore up physical strength on the offensive line and mental strength throughout the roster.

Having seen the state’s elite – twice in the past three years, they’ve been shown the playoff exit door with blowout losses to Sandy Creek – Fligg is convinced that intangibles are the path to the top.

“If you’re going to beat Sandy Creek, you’ve got to be mentally tough,” said Fligg, whose team lost 35-0 to the eventual state champions in the semifinals. “We don’t want to have gimmick game plans so we have to switch what we do.”

The team’s early morning workouts took on a new intensity this spring, Fligg said, indicating a recognition that the program has a chance to do special things this fall.

“We called it commitment time,” Fligg said. We really pushed the kids more than I’ve pushed any team I’ve had. We worked on their mental toughness. Having them believe. It was only 40 minutes, because we start school at 7:10, but we really pushed it hard. Our kids did it. They want it and they accept it.”

With the intangibles a work in progress, the Hurricanes have plenty of tangibles to work with, particularly on offense, where they put up video game numbers last fall, scoring 514 points. Quarerback Stanton Truitt is one of the most dynamic players in Class AAAA. Despite missing four games, he rushed for more than 1,400 yards and passed for more than 800 in 2012, and led game-winning drives in the first two playoff rounds.

Truitt, who has more than 30 scholarship offers, is coupled with RB Kwan Brooks, who topped 1,900 rushing yards.

Against lesser competition, the two of them, along with WR Michael Gallup, figure to run roughshod. But when the opponents are at Monroe Area’s level, Fligg is looking to the offensive line to pave the way.

“We’ve got to have the strongest offensive line that we’ve had. For us to put it all together and get past Sandy Creek, our line’s got to be able to blow people off the ball. We’re going to look for real physical interior line play,” Fligg said.

Things are less certain on the defensive side, where Monroe Area lost both starting cornerbacks, two linebackers and two defensive linemen. And kicker/punter Cody Brown, a four-year starter, also is moving on.

“We’ve never kicked much in spring practice, but we’re kicking this spring,” Fligg said.

Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes

2012 record: 12-2, 6-1 Region 8-AAAA, lost in state semifinals to Sandy Creek

Starters returning: 7 offense; 5 defense

Key players lost: WR Sean Garrison, WR Cody Brown, OT Jobe Fortner, CB T.J. Sigmund, CB DaTavious Malcom.

Key players returning: QB Stanton Truitt, RB Kwan Brooks, , S Junior Reed, LB D.J. Smith, OL Dustin Young, OL Grayson Williams

Spring practice dates: April 30 – May 11

Schedule: Aug. 30 at Loganville, Sept. 6 at Winder-Barrow, Sept. 13 Oconee County, Sept. 20 at Lumpkin County, Sept. 27 Lanier, Oct. 11 at Stephens County, Oct. 18 Walnut Grove, Oct. 25 at Madison County, Nov. 1Chestatee, Nov. 8 Eastside.

Outlook: There are questions on the defense, with two starters gone in the secondary, two in the linebacking corps and two on the line. The real question, though, is whether opponents will be able to slow down the Hurricanes’ offense, which put up 514 points in 2012 and figures to be just as potent in 2013, with most of the key skilled players returning.

20 comments Add your comment

Large and In Charge

April 25th, 2013
9:08 pm

The problem for Monroe Area is that they DO have gimmick game plans. As pointed out by Fligg in this interview that won’t work against the likes of Sandy Creek. Monroe Area plays in a very weak region and will not be tested by the time the get to the playoffs. This was the case last season as they escaped early round games against lesser teams and also benefited from other top seeds being upset. Therefore when they got to Sandy Creek they had never seen anything close to what they saw that night. So to answer the question asked in the outlook, NO, most opponents they play can’t slow them down. But it won’t matter in the playoffs as they will be way unprepared for what they see there. My advice, enjoy the regular season for what it is…a cake walk in a weak region, then get ready for basketball season.

Susan

April 25th, 2013
9:30 pm

I read in an earlier 50-in-50 story that this would be coach Fligg’s last year at Monroe. Is that true? He does not look healthy. Is he ill? Best of luck to Monroe Area this coming season.

Daswasup

April 25th, 2013
11:16 pm

Coach Fligg does seem like something is wrong with him. He kind of glows in the dark. Very odd. Lots of speed on the Canes. Have to agree that they are in a super weak region for the 4A level. Won’t have much resistance till the playoffs.

Rossi

April 26th, 2013
9:21 am

Region 8AAAA will be even weaker this year than last year. Eastside will be the only team in the league that may remotely challenge Monroe. The issue with not being test is Coach Fligg’s fault. He realized two years ago that he had a special group coming. He should have scheduled tough non-region opponents instead of the cupcakes he scheduled. Scoring and yardage records look good to some, but they do not necessarily equate to championships. It will be tough for them to win it unless they can somehow make practices tough enough for the team to improve.

Newton Fan

April 26th, 2013
10:59 am

Eastside whipped Monroe in embarrassing form last season. The schedule is pathetic. It would have taken a special coach to recognize what he had coming in the boys he has now (and last year). Obviously that is not the case. Based on Monroe’s history it’s not hard to believe folks would be happy just having a good run in the regular season. I hope they will be happy with that. Eastside is my pick to mess up Monroe’s season again.

SouthATLNative

April 26th, 2013
11:12 am

Yea, MA better hope Sandy Creek is on the opposite end of the bracket for playoffs. Cause, at least then, they will have a shot to get to the Dome. But, then at the Dome SC will beat the brakes off of them.
Good look to them though and their leader, the ‘Tan Man’.

Cane Nut

April 26th, 2013
11:15 am

Fligg just needs to stay out of the tanning bed. Nothing wrong with him that I know of. Just addicted to the tanning bed for some reason.

Cane Nut

April 26th, 2013
11:21 am

Sandy Creek is just a cheating thug sanctuary. Monroe barely had a football program a few years ago. Don’t beat your chest too much….beating the brakes off of Monroe is no reason go get the big head. Lay off the tan man…he is our tan man…you keep your mouth shut.

black123456789

April 26th, 2013
11:58 am

I think they need more discipline to compete!!! Too many holes on that team!!! Guess they cant help who they play in the region. I would schedule a regular season match up with SC!!! Or play some DC or GC schools to get ready, but people just want to win and make money!!! Too many deep secrets in monkey town!!! As long as they sell tickets, trust me no change will come!!!!

SouthATLNative

April 26th, 2013
12:52 pm

Cane Nut… you are absolutely correct… SC shouldn’t have to beat their chest. They do enough of that to Monroe to last many moons… along with the likes of Carrollton, Ridgeland, Burke, Dalton, LaGrange, etc…
Looking at their last 5 years, 67 wins and 3 losses. Stats don’t lie.
Don’t be jealous… SC can’t help it that side of the state is just plain soft.
And make sure you stop by Walgreen’s and get some baby oil for his 430 appt in the tanning bed.

Real Cane 84man

April 26th, 2013
1:08 pm

Loganville has been a solid program and has many more students than Monroe. It’s a logical pick for an opening game. Also, Monroe and Winder is another logical game, they are almost a AAAAAA school with those numbers. Oconee County might could have been overlooked by better team but Monroe is also locked into travel stipulations. The football team has brought the community together and has been the best thing to ever happen in Monroe since I have lived here. They had many turnovers in the first two playoff games and still overcame and won. They can’t help that S Effingham beat 2 teams the first two rounds. You play the next opponents on the schedule. Coach Fligg is a respective gentleman who always treats his opponents with respect. He is a workaholic and was a terrific AD that brought enthusiasm and excitement to the school. Three straight playoff appearances, a region title and playing in more playoff games than all other coaches combined should be appreciative.
As of illness or retirement? Coach has struggled through many stomach ulcers, and has held strong through his beautiful daughters eating disorder the last 5 years. His daughter is Monroe’s number 1 cheerleader. Her disease is serious and she is by far Coach’s number 1 priority . He has also taken over 3 other terrible football programs and turned them into winners. Good Luck Canes in 2013. The community appreciates what you do.

Paladin Death Dealer

April 27th, 2013
9:45 am

They coaching an All Star team at “The Creek”. Got recruits coming out of Fulton County and all over South Metro. Everyone knows GHSA is soft on recruiting and “transfers”, and the Calhouns, Bufords, and other city schools and private schools smell the blood in the water. Leave my “home boys” and go win me a ring and get some pub to get me to the next level. It is no wonder that the teams who recruit the best players win year in and out. Would anyone expect it to be any different. Players win if coaches will just get out of the way and not screw them up. Same teams will continue to win and stockpile players until the era of “permissive transfers” is over. When there is an outcry that is loud enough from the “have nots” of GHSA football who demand that the playing field be made level again. Hope is that some day we can get back to the days before all this recruiting and changing schools began. Don’t like the different set of rules that are out there nowadays for the schools that compete against each other.

SouthATLnative

April 27th, 2013
9:57 am

You’d leave Westlake too if you have seen what they’re NOT doing there. Now, that may change with their new coach. But, previously, it has been a freaking joke at Westlake.
But, you just keep hating on SC. They’ll beat your tail too if you’re on the schedule.

Well Dang

April 28th, 2013
12:45 am

@Real Cane? Why did Fligg “leave” the AD post? Why did he “leave” his prior coaching jobs you speak of? (u don’t have to answer that…I know its a secret) Monroe has a run on talent the last few years. This will be Fliggs last year. No way he returns for another year past this one. Whatever he “was doing” before…he has been doing now….which translates to moving on.

Well Dang

April 28th, 2013
12:47 am

The Creek cheats. Period. Just like Buford and Calhoun. Schools like that are not REAL teams…they are all star teams and there is nothing to respect about what they do year in and year out. Until the GHSA does something about those school….forget it. GA high school football is seriously tainted.

20east

April 28th, 2013
3:13 pm

I played at Stone Mtn for coach Fligg in the mid 90’s, the man couldn’t coach himself out a bubble then, and im sure some things haven’t changed. Im saying, how do you go 9-0 then get blasted by a 5-4 Eastside team that needed the win just to get in the playoffs? Yeah, they got some talent over there in Monroe, but they have been in some dreadful regions the last couple years. Ive had 2 cousins go through Eastside the past 6 Years, Monroe Area was booboo when they were in 8AAAA a few years back. And who said Fligg turned around some bad programs? Show me proof, Monroe is the only school he has won anything at.

Bruce

April 28th, 2013
4:32 pm

Don’t know of a program that Fligg turned around. Only thing he could do at Stone Mtn. was to work for a Principal that no other coach was willing to do.But that only lasted for a few years.

FootballTopFan(c)

April 28th, 2013
6:32 pm

FootballTopFan(c) congratulates the Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes on their three straight state playoff appearances.

Head Coach Matt Fligg has a great offensive team that scores points.

The Hurricanes will be strong in Class AAAA again.

Football Top Fan wish you much luck and success in the upcoming season.

BBB

April 29th, 2013
10:02 am

Fligg has had a lot of personal problems in the last year, his father passing away, and his duaghter’s situation. He was suppose to be the coach of the boys soccer team, but he was only at 4 games. From what I have heard he needs to tighten the reigns on this years team before it blows up in his face. Lanier might be a team to give Monroe fitts along wit Eastside. I can’t believe that he left off “players lost”, in the bio, the BIG nt that was there for 4 years, that is going to be a position that’s going to be hard to replace, along with the center, that centered the ball to the QB with every good snap, since Monroe was in the shotgun 98 % of the time.

NoDistrictLinesInDekalb

May 1st, 2013
8:51 am

I guess I am the only one to catch the spelling error ~Quarerback~ or was everyone just being nice? The scores Monroe put up every week made me wonder how good they were then they answered with that loss to Eastside.
There are 2 schools of thought as to how to build your program.
#1 put cupcakes on the schedule and beat them
#2 find tough teams, play them and gauge your improvement
Coach Fligg must be a likeable guy going by his record he gets a full five years at some schools to produce a winner or a playoff team. From what I saw of other posts a few said he didn’t win but lets look at the record.
Rockdale was nothing before he was there and after he left little success other than 1 season.
Stone Mtn is rarely a factor in the regions since late 80’s early 90’s then you have go back to mid 1960’s.
And Chestatee (new school) he won there and the coach after him had 2 decent years so are you saying he should of won bigger at these schools? Or are you saying you and or your kid didn’t play much under him?
I don’t know the man but I just dislike when folks get on here and speak less than the truth about a person. If I wanted that kind of talk I would listen to CNN and MSNBC.
http://ghsfha.org/coaches.php?gName=Fligg, Matt