E.A. Sports Today

Triple play

Checking in with Wellborn’s Montgomery, Jacksonville’s Stone, Donoho’s Foster

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jordan Montgomery thought he knew a lot about football before. Then, he went to his first national recruiting combine and it opened his eyes to a whole other world.

The two-way Wellborn sophomore just returned from a four-day trip to the U.S. Army National Underclassmen Combine in San Antonio. It was an experience that changed his perspective on – and passion for — the game.

“Oh my goodness, it was great,” he said. “It was really a learning experience. I gained so much out of it. … It said to me I can do anything as long as I set my mind to it. When I go back to Wellborn, I’m going to release all my talent and go as hard as I can.”

Montgomery, a running back and strong safety, wasn’t just some wide-eyed spectator at the combine waiting to watch the established seniors play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. For the 500-plus players on hand, it was all football, all the time – on the field and in the classroom, too.

In as a running back, he was measured and tested in all the skill sets required of the game, running a 4.6 40 and a 4.5 shuttle. But he also learned how to prepare and train for the road that lies ahead for many in attendance. He said one of his highlights was meeting Hall of Famer Lynn Swann.

“I would say as much football as I thought I knew I went out there and learned a whole lot more,” he said. “I love basketball and have since I was a little kid and now football is a part of me I can never let go. I told the coaches as soon as I get back I’ve got to hit the weight room. If I’m going to compete with these guys and be the best I can be I’ve got to do it.”

(Cover photo: Wellborn’s Jordan Montgomery looks for running room in a game this season against Piedmont. (Photo by Greg McWilliams))

This Stone is on a roll

SIERRA STONE

SIERRA STONE

Sierra Stone has been on a tear.

Over the last four games the Jacksonville sophomore post has 72 points, 56 rebounds, nine steals and shot 31 for 41 from the field. The stretch includes two of her four double-doubles this season, a 23-rebound game against Madison County and an 11-for-11 shooting night last time out against Alexandria.

The 11-for-11 was the third time this year she has been perfect from the floor. She is averaging 10.9 points and 8.9 rebounds for the season. The Golden Eagles host Cleburne County today.

“It’s like she’s almost taking some things personal in trying to improve on things,” Golden Eagles coach Ryan Chambless said. “I think she had a game or two where she didn’t perform as well and I think she took it personal and really started working.

“It’s kind of almost like a switch, flip it. She wasn’t happy with a game or two she played and really taken it on herself and tried to improve, which is what you love to see as a coach, and it’s really paying off in games.”

Stone, whose quiet demeanor off the floor belies her tenacity in the post, credits the surge to the teamwork with her guards and the comfort level that comes with more experience. The positive feedback she has received after games also serves as a motivator.

“I’ve been working with my guards and I started picking up on the stuff I didn’t know how to do last year and they’ve just been giving me the ball,” she said. “The people who’ve been watching me and my team say I’m playing really good and they hadn’t seen this side of me in a long time. We just have a lot of positive energy right now.”

Foster a man on the move

JUSTIN FOSTER

JUSTIN FOSTER

Justin Foster moves a step closer to making his college choice this weekend when he revisits Samford. His ultimate decision could come “anywhere between the next week and three weeks.”

Meanwhile, the next potential game-changer for the versatile Donoho star comes next Wednesday when the state’s Mr. Football and Backs and Linemen of the Year are revealed in Montgomery.

Foster is a finalist for Class 1A Lineman of the Year along with Maplesville linebacker Tyler Armstrong and Cedar Bluff offensive lineman Jake Mintz.

All three finalists have worthy statistics.

Foster recorded 76 tackles and three fumble recoveries. On offense, he just missed rushing for 1,000 yards and had 1,242 total yards and 27 touchdowns.

Mintz had 112 tackles, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. On offense, he graded 96 percent, allowed no sacks and had 52 pancake blocks.

Armstrong had 123 tackles, four sacks, 12 tackles for loss and a defensive touchdown.

“It’s a blessing to have that opportunity,” Foster said. “My teammates and coaches put me in a position to have that. It’s even great to be a finalist. Even if I don’t win it, it’s still a great honor.”

Foster played just about everywhere for the Falcons, but put a new spot to his resume at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game when he played nose guard. Even then he was all over the yard.

He started out at outside linebacker, but was calling out the offensive and defensive sets so they moved him to middle linebacker. He was too aggressive there, so they moved him to the line. He was thinking defensive end, but it wound up being nose guard. Those who watched the proceedings reported he held his own.

“It was a challenge at first, but I like challenges; I like stepping up to the plate and I believe I did that,” he said. “You’re going against the best guys in the state and these best guys happened to be the best guys in the nation. It was a reality adjustment. It was kind of hard when you’ve got three big guys in the middle, but I soon got with it.”



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