Don’t look now, but Vikings are 0-3

Can it be? Can mighty Montgomery really be 0-3 right now?

It’s not a hallucination. The Vikings, fresh off an undefeated run through the North Bay League and an appearance in the North Coast Section Div. II championship game in 2009, are winless after three games in 2010, following Friday’s 21-7 loss at Casa Grande.

The last time Montgomery was 0-3, without a tie, was 1991. (In 2008, the Vikings tied Casa in their third game and started 0-3-1.)

Next up for Jason Franci’s team: the NBL opener at Ukiah. In case you’re wondering, Monty’s most recent 0-4 start was 1990.

The Vikings aren’t terrible. To some extent, they have been victims of the schedule thus far. The three teams that have beaten Montgomery — Windsor, Heritage of Brentwood and Casa Grande — all remain undefeated.

Friday, the Vikings outgained the Gauchos 291-188 but suffered three turnovers (including two interceptions returned for touchdowns) and failed to convert several fourth-down plays.

It drove Franci crazy, no doubt, but he has reason for optimism. Senior running back Alex Ciudad-Real is a horse. His straight-up running style and shoulder-first toughness, combined with the Vikings’ red-and-silver color scheme, remind me a little of Ohio State-era Eddie George.

Montgomery also has a massive offensive line and a rugged group of linebackers in Cameron Mullen, Tarin Easton and Eric Brown.

So, yeah, the Vikes are 0-3. But NBL foes will take them lightly at their own peril.

— Phil Barber