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  • Writer's pictureHugo Traverso

Montgomery Gets Off to Great Start Under Coach Vertis Patton

Coach Vertis Patton came into the Vikings program in 2018 as head coach. He had to build back the program from a 3-6, 2017-18 season under Tony Keefer. They finished 8th in the North Bay League, winning 1 league game (away game against Windsor). Coach Patton brought back the program in his first season with an 8-3 season, finishing 4-0 and first in the Redwood Division. They lost though in the Playoffs to American Canyon, 43-29. Coach Patton started showing that the Vikings program was back to its greatness under a great coach. He had a step back in the 2019-20 season, going 1-9 (1-3 in Division (Finished 4th)), with the only win coming in their final game of that season against Healdsburg. In the Pandemic Season (2020-21), Montgomery showed signs of improvement going 2-1 and finishing 2nd in the Redwood Division. They wallopped Piner, 62-6, beat Santa Rosa, 14-6, but lost to Maria Carillo, 17-14.

The Vikings opened their 2021-22 campaign with a 23-16 win over Ukiah and then blew out Novato, 55-3. The Vikings faced Windsor in a hard fought game that ended with Windsor winning by 30, 50-20. They then faced Rancho Cotate and fought the Cougars hard, but they lost 37-22. After a 2-0 start, Montgomery had dropped 2 straight, and were 2-2 heading into their game against West County. West County started this year after El Molino High School and Analy High School came together to create one high school because of a low student population at El Molino. The Vikings had no trouble at QB with Junior Lucas Foye and Senior Mason Hallin slinging it for the Vikings. Hallin is also the team's top wide reciever, and he also plays Free Safety on defense. Here's what Coach Patton had to say about Hallin:

"I feel like we have one of the top athletes around here in Mason Hallin. He plays Quarterback for us. He plays Receiver. He plays Running Back, Safety, Linebacker. He plays it all and he shows he's as good as he is."
- Coach Patton on Mason Hallin

Coach Patton talked also on how he wanted to turn the season around. He explained he had a lot of players playing both defense and offense, and how that if the team ran their game well, they would be dominant. Coach also said that the Windsor game was a game that they would use to learn. He said all this about his coaching style with Montgomery:

"I want our team to be physical and be a team that never backs down and be fundamentally sound. That's what we're trying to get to. We have a lot of work to do, but we're working on that everyday, every year that I have been (coaching), especially with Montgomery is just getting us to be competitive and compete in every play against everyone that we play against. So just being physical and fundamentally sound, that's my mentality as a coach."
Coach Patton on his Coaching Style

He also said this about Montgomery's 2-2 start:

"When we scheduled our season this year and this is part of the program growing, is we wanted to see how we would do against a Windsor and a Rancho team and how our kids would fight in the game and play throughout the whole game and if we'd have some success. Now those teams are teams that have really good culture, amazing coaches. They play very physical, very sound, and fundamentally, they have it together. Great Coaches. For us going into the season we knew we had some athletes, we knew it was time to start playing these type of teams that are really good and just to see where were at and what we need to work on as coaches, as well as the players, so we weren't sure what was going to happen. We started off 2-0, and then came into those two games. We knew we had to play our best game to even have an opportunity. And it didn't happen, but the one thing that was good coming out of those games is the kids understood the competition they were playing against. They knew they had potential and each game after Windsor, they got better. After Rancho, we've gotten better. I'm really excited to see where it goes from here."
Coach Patton on Montgomery's 2-2 start

Coach Patton was ready and had a game plan set against West County. The Vikings were heading into a bye before they start playing League games. They open league on October 8th against crosstown rivals Santa Rosa. He said this about the West County game:

"We got to watch some of their film. Offensively, we have to do our jobs. We have to be disciplined in everything that we do. We want to try to establish the run and take advantage of what they give us. They're going to be a tough team. They run a lot of spread, but in the last two games that we've played, we've had a difficult time stopping the run so that's one thing that we focus on starting this week (interview conducted: September 24). I think athlete for athlete we're just as good as them or as anybody that we'll play. With their passing game, I think we should be okay there, but stopping the run is the big thing for this game even though they're a passing team. For us offensively, get the ball in our playmakers' hands, run the ball and let everything play out the way it's supposed to, but we're excited about the game."
Coach Patton on what the Vikings need to do to stop West County

Montgomery did just that. They opened up scoring with a rusing touchdown and doubled their lead to 12-0 after a pick six. West County scored a TD before the end of the quarter, though, to make it 12-7. Montgomery recovered a fumble in the Second Quarter, which led to a touchdown. West County responded with a touchdown bringing the Viking lead to one score. The Vikings ran down the field, and scored a touchdown, making it a 9 point game. The score was 25-14 at half. The Vikings established the pass in the first half with some incredible passing from Lucas Foye. The Vikings then scored on a 15 yard touchdown pass to open up scoring in the second half and make it 32-14. On a 4th & 7 in the 4th quarter, Montgomery then scored on a teriffic 10 yard touchdown pass. The score was 38-14 after this. West County closed scoring with a touchdown. The final was 38-20, Montgomery.

Montgomery advanced to 3-2 while West County dropped to 3-2. Foye dominated at QB, going 20 for 35 with 281 yards (14.1 yards per completion), 2 touchdowns and an interception. He obtained a 90.3 QB Rating. The Vikings had 190 yards on the ground. They carried the ball 47 times (4 yards per carry) and scored 3 touchdowns on the ground. Junior Keegan Peterson had 9 carries for 60 yards (6.2 yards per carry). Foye had 9 carries for 26 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns. Senior George Meisler had 29 carries for 104 yards (3.6 yards per carry) . Keegan Peterson led receiving with 7 catches for 108 yards (15.4 yards per reception) and 1 touchdown. Senior Justin Merriken had 3 receptions for 80 yards (26.7 yards per reception). Junior Owen Faustino had 2 receptions for 16 yards (8 yards per reception). Mason Hallin had 6 catches for 56 yards (9.3 yards per reception) and a touchown. George Meisler had 2 receptions for 21 yards (10.5 yards per reception). Mason Hallin also intercepted 3 passes for a total of 21 return yards. Montgomery and Coach Patton put on a show and showed that they are a force to be reckoned with in the North Bay League.


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