Jonah Monheim hoped to finish his high school football career in December, but four losses by 10 points or fewer left Moorpark High with no postseason aspirations as it finished its season on the first day of November.
The Musketeers were able to send Monheim and the rest of its senior class out with a victory, holding off Newbury Park 35-28 in the finale.
Monheim did his part by dominating in the run and pass games from his left tackle position. Moorpark averaged more than seven yards per carry while running for more than 200 yards. Quarterback Blake Sturgill was an efficient 15-for-20 passing for nearly 200 yards and two scores.
“Obviously this season went nothing how we wanted it to go or how we intended it to go or anything, but it makes it a little nicer to finish off with a win,” Monheim said. “In terms of high school football being over, I don’t think it’s all the way hit me yet.
“Playing one last time with all my friends, my hometown and everything, all my family out here, it was really awesome. I’ve been super thankful for everything up to this point. But there’s no doubt I’m excited for the next chapter, for my next step in my football career and everything.”
That next step will come at USC, where Monheim committed to play earlier in the season. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman chose the Trojans over Alabama, Oklahoma and a lengthy list of scholarship offers from schools across the nation.
Becoming a Trojan is an opportunity for Monheim to stay in Los Angeles, but more important to him are the academic connections after football.
“It was just big picture. It was just the best place for me and my future moving forward,” he said. “The football tradition at SC, you know, it’s second to none. Great, great football program. Great, great academics. Great degree, connections in L.A. Staying close to home is always a plus. In all aspects looking at it, it was just the best place for me moving forward.”
With the uncertainty of coach Clay Helton’s future looming over USC’s recruiting efforts, Monheim remains confident in his decision.
“I would hate to see [a coaching change] happen, but if it did, I have faith that the administration will do what’s best for the program moving forward,” he said. “Beyond that, we’d just have to wait and see what happens.”
Even before committing, Monheim had been on the USC campus frequently, trying to get a feel for the coaching staff and how things were run. He visited practices and watched offensive line coach Tim Drevno’s teaching style. He sat in team and position meetings to get a better understanding of what is being asked of the players.
Monheim has also attended several games where he watches his future position group intently.
“I’ll be really focused on the o-line, focused on coach Drev on the sideline when they come off the field and how they’re interacting and how they get back out there, how they’re playing and communicating,” Monheim said. “I really try to watch the run game and how they’re pass protecting and everything, but I also just take in the atmosphere. I’m at a college football game, so that’s really cool.”
Monheim will be re-connected at USC with Drake London, who has 18 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown during his freshman season with the Trojans. The duo played multiple sports together growing up in Moorpark.
London was Monheim’s host on his official visit and someone Monheim felt comfortable seeking advice from during his recruitment.
“It was definitely cool having him there as I was going through the recruiting process and picking his brain a little bit,” Monheim said. “I remember when I was getting recruited, his biggest thing was just kind of take your time. Think everything through. Talk about it with your family. You know, the answer will come to you. Just wait. It’ll all settle. It’ll all come to you.
“His advice was it’ll all happen where the best place is for me and I think it did.”