By Ron Brocato, Clarion Herald
As a head baseball coach, Nick Monica, was among the best in the Catholic League. As a defensive coordinator for Jay Roth’s Archbishop Rummel football squad from 2015-18, he had an uncanny ability to position his players where they would be most effective to foil opposing offenses.
And as a head football coach, who oversaw the offense while still calling the shots on defense as a first-year head coach, Monica led the Raiders to the 2019 Division I state football championship.
And who not? After all, he comes from championship coaching stock. He learned from his father Frank, when he was St. Charles Catholic’s quarterback in 1999.
And now the father-son duo, whose Rummel and St. Charles’ teams combined for 24 wins, share honors as Co-Coaches of the Year on the Clarion Herald’s 2019 Elite Football Team.
In his 26th year of coaching, Frank Monica notched his 277th career victory and a district championship for the Comets.
They advanced to the Division III championship games following two playoff victories, and returned to their LaPlace base with the state runner-up trophy.
Nick Monica guided the Raiders to a perfect 13-0 record and a sweep of District 9-5A.
Rummel’s strong defensive showing enabled the Raiders to capture their third state championship since 2012, a come-from-behind 14-10 win triumph over Catholic High.
And it was Kaufman, the Elite Team’s Most Outstanding Player, who triggered the victory by scoring touchdowns on a 9-yard run and a 95-yard kickoff return, which accounted for the winning margin.
The senior defensive back, who has committed to attend Vanderbilt, also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass that clinched the victory and championship.
But it was Kaufman’s leadership and all-around play during the entire season that earned him the Elite team’s highest honor. He ranks at the top of a talented team of athletes who represent the 11 high schools in the archdiocese that field football teams.
Selecting a mythical team from the area’s most talented athletes is a difficult task, and careful consideration is taken to ensure the best of the best is selected.