June 30, 2016

Mostly sunny

Hornets’ Moncol always thinking about his craft

Highland's Cory Moncol runs through the Wadsworth defense for a touchdown during the first quarter. (RON SCHWANE / GAZETTE)


Rick Noland

The Gazette

Highland quarterback Bruce Kinsey was at homecoming Saturday, trying to relax, have a good time and forget about football for an evening, but he kept getting text messages.

They were from wide receiver Cory Moncol, who didn’t attend the dance.

“He was texting me routes he wanted to run,” Kinsey said with a smile.

Whether Moncol was suggesting slants, comebacks or outs is inconsequential. Kinsey has gotten him the ball — and Moncol has made catches — on just about anything the 6-foot, 165-pound junior has run this season.

“I would like to be the guy Bruce can go to to catch everything,” Moncol said. “You don’t want to be the guy Bruce is second-guessing.”

After catching 17 passes for 273 yards as a sophomore, Moncol has 28 receptions for 523 yards and six touchdowns this season, all tops in Medina County.

He’s also etching his name all over the school record book as Highland (4-3, 2-2) prepares for a Suburban League game at Green (5-2, 3-1) tonight.

With at least three games to play this season — the Hornets have an outside shot at qualifying for the Division II, Region 6 playoffs if they win out — and an entire senior year remaining, Moncol should set school records for careers receiving yards and receptions.

The owner of a 34-inch vertical leap, 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a personal best of 21 feet, 2½ inches in the long jump — he won the SL championship in the event as a sophomore — Moncol is currently third in school annals with 796 receiving yards, just 8 yards behind second-place Jamie Tender (1984-85). Career leader Kyle Callari, who amassed 1,027 from 2006-08, should be overtaken late this season or early next.

With 45 career catches, Moncol is also third in that category, just two behind Tender and 25 behind Callari.

“He’s great,” said Kinsey, like Moncol a junior. “He’s fast, runs good routes and catches the ball. There’s not much more I could ask for.”

A few less text messages would be one request, but Kinsey actually loves the fact Moncol wants the ball.

“He’s always telling me he’s open or what routes we should try to run,” Kinsey said.

They almost always work, too.

Moncol’s nine catches against North Royalton this season were one off the school record Andrew Kronenberger set three years ago against Green, while the seven he had against Copley tied for the fourth-most in school history.

Moncol broke a school mark with 159 receiving yards in the 56-51 shootout loss to North Royalton, while his 102-yard effort against Wadsworth and 100-yard outing vs. Revere give him three of the 20 100-yard receiving games in school history.

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Moncol needs 49 yards to break the season record for receiving yards set by Jim Rantfl in 1968. He needs 12 more catches this season to tie the record of 40 set by Trey Edwards in 2010 and three receiving TDs to match Rantfl’s 1968 mark of nine.

Finally, with a solid senior season, Moncol could threaten Rantfl’s career record of 15 TD receptions.

Not bad for a guy who began the season thinking he would play second fiddle to monster tight ends Austin Adams and Dylan McVay, who stand 6-6 and 6-4, respectively.

“I figured I’d be the third wheel as a receiver,” Moncol said. “I just started getting the ball more and more, maybe because teams were paying so much attention to them.”

Fully healthy after tearing his ACL and MCL as a freshman, Moncol has the mindset of most great wide receivers: No matter how many times he gets the ball, he wants it more. And no matter how many great catches he makes, he remembers the few that get away.

One such play occurred on Highland’s final offensive series against North Royalton. Moncol was open on a quick slant against the Bears, but couldn’t make the catch on a ball that wasn’t perfectly thrown by Kinsey.

“I should have caught that,” he said with no hesitation. “Bruce will claim he threw it behind me, but I should have had it. No excuses. That would have been a first down. Then who knows what would have happened.

“It was a shootout. It was ridiculous. Throw and catch, throw and catch, throw and catch all the way down the field.”

That’s the way Moncol likes it, and it helps that he has complete confidence in close friend Kinsey.

“You have to trust Bruce,” he said. “If he throws it high, I have to go with, ‘He’s throwing it high because he sees something,’ not because he’s trying to get me killed.”

Moncol and Kinsey have been playing football together since they were in sixth grade, though they were separated last year, when Kinsey quarterbacked the junior varsity.

“We’ve picked right up where we left off,” Moncol said. “He’s a great quarterback.”

The two have progressed to the point where they can almost read each other’s mind, but that does not mean Moncol is going to stop suggesting routes via text message, homecoming or no homecoming.

That dance, by the way, always concludes with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” which is the approach Moncol, Kinsey and the rest of the Hornets are taking for the rest of this season.

“Our offense is just clicking,” Moncol said. “When we need to run, we run. When that slows down, the passing game picks up.

“It’s a crazy team, but we know how to buckle down when we need to.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.