Montrose, are you ready for some football?
The Montrose High School football welcomes in Grand Junction Central at 7 tonight to kick off the 2019 season. The Indians are hoping to continue up last year’s final four state playoff run by starting with a win against the visiting Warriors.
For Montrose to start the season off with a bang, it’s not going to come down to one athlete’s performance or a single play, but it’ll be because of how well the whole team holds up playing four quarters for the first time since last fall, said senior Cole Simmons.
“What mostly beats teams is conditioning,” he said. “The toughest team is in the first game.”
Simmons will be the one getting the ball this season as he’ll take over the fullback position. Although he mostly played on the offensive line last year, Simmons started one game at fullback against Palisade where he ran in two touchdowns, including the game-winning score.
Montrose will have back the elusive Emmert Kastendieck and Riley Barnhill who both made big plays at running back.
The one calling the plays again will be Keagan Goodwin, who threw nine TDs last year on about 80 attempts.
The defensive will be mostly the same as seven or eight starters are back, said MHS coach Brett Mertens
Last year’s Montrose-Central contest was quite a battle, as the Indians just snuck by with a 21-13 win as the Warriors turned over the ball three times in the red zone.
But this Warriors team will look different than recent memory.
Central will have a new man on the sideline guiding the team. Brandon Milholland takes over as the new head coach while his predecessor, Shawn Marsh, took over Eaglecreast’s football program.
Since Milholland brings a new approach to Central, it provides a challenge for Montrose, Mertens said.
“It’s tough when you get a new coach that you don’t know really what he’s going to do,” he said. “We’ll have to prepare well and, hopefully, be ready for anything.”
But one thing Mertens does know is that Central has some potent athletes. That means the Indians need to fundamentally sound, and not turn over the ball if they hope to win their first game of the season, Mertens said.
“It’s going to be a fun night. We’re trying to get ready for that one right now,” he said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.