The Monroe High School football team began its season with a dominating 55-6 victory of Greater Middlesex Conference White Division foe North Brunswick late Saturday night.
Akeer Franklin led the way for the Falcons, rushing for 185 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries. Quarterback Stephen Karoly added a passing and a rushing touchdown as the visitors ran their offense with ease throughout the contest.
North Brunswick scored its lone touchdown on a 49-yard pass from Kevin Poindexter to Nazhier May with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Monroe’s running game was consistent all night, but Franklin was clearly a cut above the rest.
“It started up front and then I just did what I had to do,” Franklin said. “I told my team I was going to do whatever it took to lead them, and then I did it.”
Senior running back Paul Baclayon played second fiddle to Franklin, picking up 64 yards on the ground and one touchdown. Wideout David Betancur hauled in three catches for 59 yards and another score.
Karoly looked sharp under center, as he ran the offense efficiently and effectively. Karoly completed 7 of 12 passes for 86 yards, and delivered an accurate strike to the corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown to Betancur making it a 34-0 game midway through the second quarter.
The Raiders struggled to get anything going offensively. Quarterback Kevin Poindexter finished 4-for-6 for 55 yards with one touchdown. Tyler Brant led North Brunswick with seven carries for 31 yards.
The first half was the Akeer Franklin show as he racked up 163 yards rushing and four touchdowns before the intermission. Franklin had an all-around stellar performance, contributing on defense as well as special teams.
“Akeer is a tremendous talent, and he’s only going to get better,” Beagan said. “He’s improved in every area of his game in the offseason. He hit the weight room hard and he’s solid. He’s put on a good 15 pounds, he’s faster than he was last year and he’s stronger.”
The Falcons prepare to host South Brunswick next week, and the Raiders shift their attention towards Colts Neck.
Saturday night’s act might be tough to follow up, but Monroe should have some momentum going into a matchup with an extremely talented South Brunswick team.
“You really have no breathers in this Red Division,” said Beagan. “We’ve got the defending Central Group V state champion coming to our place next weekend, and we’ve got a lot to get ready for.”