Menchville hoping to break its 2-8 rut under new coach Melvin Moore
Menchville coach Melvin Moore (August 11, 2011)
Unfortunately, that record is 2-8, which calculates to a 10-40 mark over five years. That extends a streak of 15 consecutive losing seasons, the longest in the Peninsula District.
That in mind, outside expectations aren't that high for the Monarchs, who lost superstar Clifton Richardson and have a first-year head coach. But Melvin Moore, who was hired last spring to turn things around, wants more.
"Ultimately, you're defined by wins and losses — that's just how it is," Moore said Wednesday afternoon between two-a-day sessions. "There have been great men who had my position who maybe haven't been successful. They were great people, but wins are what retains your position.
"We want to win, and we want to do things the right way. I think the community deserves to have some level of success on the football field. They've been supportive of this team for so many years. They're anxious for some kind of turnaround, and I think they deserve it."
Menchville does have a loyal fan base, and nobody celebrates homecoming weekend any better. But how much better can the Monarchs be when you consider that Richardson, the program's first high-profile recruit since David Macklin 15 years earlier, is now a freshman at Virginia?
Moore is not naive enough to predict a specific number of wins. But he is confident that the Monarchs, even with a young roster, will take a step this fall. His players, eager for that turnaround, are buying into it.
"We're stronger and mentally better," senior receiver/defensive back Taron Petteway said. "We won't be the same — that's the mindset we all have this year. We're going to win some games this year."
Moore is used to winning. As a senior at Deep Creek in 1988, his team won seven games and shared the Southeastern District championship. During his first three seasons as a linebacker and safety at Norfolk State, the Spartans went 20-9-1. He was an assistant for three years at Churchland, which finished second in the Eastern District and made the playoffs in 2008.
Menchville, he knows, is not used to winning. Only a handful of his players were even born when the Monarchs had their last winning season in 1995.
"The biggest thing here is the transition to the type of program I'm trying to set in place and what they're used to," Moore said. "A lot of them are used to doing things a certain way and now they have to curtail those behaviors, because that's now how we do things anymore.
"I'm not different than the former coach here — he wanted the best out of his players and he wanted his team to win. Where we differ is application and how you get that done."
Though John Byron resigned on Nov. 5, Menchville didn't hire Moore until five months later. Compare that to Heritage, which brought in former Hampton assistant George Massenburg less than two months after that job became vacant.
Moore had little time to hire a staff, get a workout program established, and meet his new players. But the players say the transition was smooth.
"Everybody's working as a team," senior receiver/defensive back Martel Peden said. "There aren't any individuals out there. We're working hard, building chemistry, and looking good."
Moore will rely on a select group of veterans like Peden and the Petteway twins — Taron and Tavon. He doesn't have that special athlete like Richardson, who rushed for 2,139 yards over the last two seasons. But he believes there is more balance.
"This team has been exposed to the one-man show idea," he said. "You know the results. One man can't beat 11 — that's mathematically impossible. We don't have a superstar, but we have a lot of good players who will all be working to the same goal."
Taking over at quarterback will be junior Tyler Mueller, who played behind Richardson and Jamel Boothe last season. Moore believes the Monarchs' experience at other skill positions will help Mueller ease into the starter's role.
Moore sees the program on the rise. But he's not selling the present short.
"We have a solid foundation for the future, but we can win now," he said. "It's not a four-year project. We have an opportunity to compete right now and the opportunity to win some football games this year.
"How many? I'm not going to predict that. But I know we'll compete and we won't quit. If we can do those things, I'll take any result."