New Year, New Coach for John Marshall Monarchs


Glen Dale, W, Va. (WTRF) – Justin Kropka who spent 13 years as the head coach at Harrison Central takes over the Monarch program after spending the last three years as an assistant at Wheeling University. While his long term goal is to build a solid program he also has an immediate goal.

“I want to get as good as we can and get as many wins for our seniors because they don’t get another shot. This is it for them so I want to accelerate the learning curve and be as competitive as we can be for our senior group,” Kropka said.

Offensively, Kropka says the line is the most advanced right now. They are a veteran group with junior Cole Porter at right tackle, senior Ethan Neely at right guard, senior Alex Francis at center, either junior Bryce Cool or Jase Riding at left guard and senior Grant Neiswonger at left tackle. Senior Jarod Kirkes is the tight end. Junior Jacob Coffield will lead the unit at quarterback. He’s joined by Ben McCardle at tailback and Nate Menendez at fullback. At receiver, look for juniors Braden and Brennan Sobutka, senior Coda Morse, and sophomore DeMario White.

“We’re getting there. Like I said, every day it seems like the first day sometimes and every time we take a step forward seems (it) seems like we’re just treading water right now but eventually I think we’ll get there,” Kropka said.

Defensively, Kropka says it’s very similar to his offense with vets inside and younger players outside. Kirkes and Neely are the ends. The tackles are Neiswonger and senior Brayden Hagaodorn. The linebackers are McCardle and Menendez. With Coffield and junior Cody Hartman at outside backers and senior Noah Beckett at safety.

“We’re trying to teach them Latin and they know Spanish, so, you know, it’s verbage and keys and stuff like that that are all different but I think our inside guys again because of their experience have taken to it a little faster,” Kropka said.

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