Passing It On: Latest Monson quarterback carries on JHS family tradition

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Paul Monson (left) and his sons Ross Monson (standing) and Ty Monson (sitting) have all started at quarterback for Jamestown High School football. Ty is currently under center for the 4-0 Blue Jays and is averaging more than 220 yards passing per game. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Four games as starting quarterback and Ty Monson already has household bragging rights.

The Jamestown High School senior is averaging an impressive 221 yards passing per game for the 4-0 Blue Jays, far and away surpassing the career averages produced by his father, Paul Monson, and older brother, Ross Monson, who both lined up under center for JHS in the past.

But none of them are quite ready to concede who's played the position best. Chalk that up to a family of competitors staying on brand.

"I mean, if we're looking at stats, obviously it's Ty," laughed Ross last Wednesday at Jamestown's Ernie Gates Field. "But if you look at what system we're playing in ... back in the '70s (dad was) playing a little more heavy run style."

Patriarch Paul averaged just over 46 yards passing in 13 of 18 games played for the Blue Jays in the smashmouth '70s. Jamestown went 8-10 with Paul "slinging" the pigskin for a run-first offense that included top rushers Dana Stoudt in '76 and Miles Pederson in '77.


Paul and the Blue Jays rumbled to a winning 5-4 record in '77 with coach Larry Ukestad at the helm. Tom Gunderson caught 16 passes for 230 yards in seven of Jamestown's nine games that season in stats obtained by The Sun.

"Coaches were saying, 'Oh, we're gonna throw this year Mons,'" deadpanned Paul, who graduated from JHS in '78. "I threw eight times a game. But we had a good running attack and were actually a really good team.

"We had a big full back, Cary Eriksson. He could've played on the offensive line."

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Former JHS quarterback Paul Monson is photographed in The Jamestown Sun in the fall of 1977. Monson started at quarterback for the Jays in both 1976 and '77 prior to graduating in the spring of '78. Sun File Photo

Ross quarterbacked the Jays between 2013-14, helping win 10 of 18 games played and averaging 120.4 yards passing per night in a predominantly power-run offense. Imagine what his average might have looked like had future University of North Dakota receiver Noah Wanzek not been injured for the season in Week 3 of 2014?

Ross helped lead the Jays to the Class AAA state playoffs in 2013, spreading the ball to targets that included receivers Tyler Ukestad and Joey Gebhardt, and tight ends Marc Wagner and Logan Anderson. Taylor Orr paced the 6-4 Jays in 2013 with more than 880 yards rushing, while Ben Hanson led the 4-4 Blue Jays' backfield in 2014 with 428 yards rushing.

Voted to the all-state second team as a senior, Ross is set to begin his senior season at safety for the University of Jamestown this weekend in Seward, Nebraska.


"I had receivers who could go up and get the ball for me," said Ross, who ultimately passed for 2,168 yards and accounted for 26 total touchdowns for the Tim Fletcher-coached Blue Jays. "It's just maybe we didn't throw as much as maybe we could've, but I still like the teams that we put out there. The game plan that we had was what we needed to do."

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Former JHS quarterback Ross Monson carries the ball for the Blue Jays in a game against Bismarck Century in 2013. Chris Aarhus / The Sun

Ty, on the other hand, is in control of a much different offensive scheme under head coach Bill Nelson. The 2020 Blue Jays have shown the ability to stretch the field with receivers Jacob Hilgemann, Carson Lamp and Preston Kroeber, while mixing in 6-foot-5 tight end Keith Levin on crucial downs and keeping defenses honest with the 205-pound Austin Kessler rumbling out of the backfield.

The newest Monson quarterback has accounted for 885 of the Jays' 1,434 total yards with his right arm through four games, while also passing for 10 touchdowns. Ty is averaging 10.93 yards per attempt and led the charge in Jamestown's 21-20 come-from-behind victory over Bismarck Legacy on Sept. 18 with three second-half touchdown passes.

"That was a really, really cool big brother moment," Ross said. "It was more exciting than any win I've been a part of. Getting to see him kinda open it up and sling it around is pretty fun and exciting."

Paul said he hasn't been surprised with Ty's production, even after it had been unclear if his younger son even wanted to at some point try and carry on the family tradition at the position.

"Ty has always been more laid back," Paul said. "I know what the quarterback position does to a person and Ty wasn't that kind of kid, and Ross thrived on that. But I knew that he had it in him. He'd watch us in the yard and he'd watch Ross and what we were doing.


"It's amazing, to tell you the truth."

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Jamestown High School quarterback Ty Monson is photographed practicing for the Blue Jays on Aug. 26, 2020. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Maybe even more so after Ty recovered from a significant injury suffered in Week 2 of last season. A tibial plateau fracture in his right leg needed five screws to surgically repair.

But by last February, Jamestown boys basketball coach Jacoby Lloyd already had Ty out on the hardcourt.

"Coach Lloyd went above and beyond," Paul said. "He really impressed upon Ty and gave him a chance to get back in basketball."

Ty said it's always been about making the most of the opportunities he's been given.

"It's just getting the chance to do it," Ty said. "I knew when I had the chance I had to prove myself."


Ty and the Blue Jays have a major test scheduled for next Friday (Oct. 9) in Bismarck. Jamestown will be looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1994 facing No. 1-ranked Bismarck Century (3-0).

Ironically, Jamestown last upset a top-ranked Century team in 1994, sailing past the Patriots 21-14 in the semifinals of the Class AAA state playoffs.

"We just gotta come out with intensity right away and put a whole four quarters together," said Ty, who has helped lead the Jays to victories over Legacy, Dickinson, Minot and Valley City. "We haven't been able to do that yet, so we don't even know what we're able to do once we play a full four-quarter game."

Of course, Ross said he plans to be there for Ty should he ever seek out any advice, even though it's a little awkward to now be looking up -- literally -- at his brother six years his junior.

Ross is 6-foot, 190 pounds. Ty is 6-2, 200.

"The joke growing up was he'd always say he was gonna get bigger than me, and I finally had to accept it," said Ross, who's returning to the Jimmies this fall after being sidelined with a broken fibula and torn deltoid in 2019. "He knows how to play football. He knows how to go out there and game, so more than anything I talk to him about being in that leadership role and what he can do to help make his teammates better."

"I have more of a feeling in my gut now than I used to have because of the injuries," Paul added. "But I'm looking forward to it."

Ty said he'd like to help the Blue Jays win in the postseason this fall, something that's missing from a proud legacy of Monson quarterbacks.


"That would be a great goal," Ty said. "Another little bragging rights."

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Paul Monson (left) and his sons Ross Monson (standing) and Ty Monson (sitting) have all started at quarterback for Jamestown High School football. Ty is currently under center for the 4-0 Blue Jays and is averaging more than 220 yards passing per game. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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