FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sometimes a second-year head football coach can actually feel good about having a less experienced crew than the one he inherited in his first season.
“We’re really pretty inexperienced everywhere this season,” said Montgomery High head coach Marcello Bautista after posting a 5-7 record in his debut season with the Vikings. “We had a more mature team last year, but I like this senior class better.”
The Vikings entered November 2014 with a 4-5 mark.
“Last year when when we started losing, the senior group sort of fell apart on us,” Bautista. “This year’s senior class is showing great leadership potential. I’m excited. We have a lot of work to do, but we have the potential for leadership to get that work done.”
Bautista is most concerned about an inexperienced offensive line that will protect a first-year varsity quarterback and try to start a rushing game without a proven varsity running back.
“The offensive line is where it starts, obviously,” Bautista said. “We need to be to able to protect the quarterback and open holes for our backs. We like to a 60-40 balance, run-to-pass. We’re working really hard on the offensive line and feel like we can have a good one.”
Senior Alex Morales (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) started at center as a junior. “We used him at both center and right guard over the summer,” Bautista said. “We’re a little undersized up front, but Alex and others do give us good players.
Junior right tackle Jason Belayo is a newcomer the coach counts on heavily up front. “We are young, but a guy like Jason really has us excited,” Bautista said.
The backfield doesn’t return a runner who made much impact last season. Senior Charles Stone ran for 247 yards as a junior. He’s joined by junior Trae Anaya to lead a stable of Vikings backs. Stone is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound speedster, while Anaya is a “big, strong back,” Bautista said.
Two juniors are vying for the quarterback job. Bryce Burroughs is a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder competing with Ricky Medina to start.
“Bryce is more a pocket passer,” Bautista said. “Ricky is a scrambler and more athletic. We just need to see who excels this summer in our spread offense.”
The two juniors make the big leap from junior varsity play.
“The game does speed up at the varsity level,” Bautista admitted. “New state rules kept us from going to as many summer camps as we’d have liked. So we’re hoping to see Bryce and Ricky perform in our scrimmage against Petaluma. There’s a lot more to the mental game at this level. We want to avoid turnovers. We think they’re both potentially good quarterbacks.”
The quarterback will have two receivers of note in Malik Telcy and Max Gaddie. The senior Telcy could be the Vikings’ No. 1 offensive threat. Gaddie is a 5-foot-8, 150-pound junior.
Montgomery’s defense is equally inexperienced, but returns some supremely talented players in senior inside linebacker Nicholas Bautista and junior safety Soni Fakalata.
“Soni is a really good player,” Marcello Bautista said. “He started as a sophomore for us. We expect big things. Nicholas is a big, fast kid. He could actually wind up playing on the offensive line, too, if we need help there.”
The second-year coach likes the progress of 6-foot-2, 200-pound Braden Tavelli and junior Lee Magers at defensive end. “Braden got hurt last year, but he’s healthy now and is a really good player,” Bautista said. “We feel good about the defensive line.”
Montgomery opens the season hosting Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 power Napa on Aug. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Coach: Marcello Bautista (second year)
2014 record: 5-7, 3-4 NBL (sixth place)
2014 JV record: 6-4
Players to watch
Malik Telcy, Sr., WR: A 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, Telcy is a possession receiver with the speed to get open deep. He’ll be a key to the Montgomery spread offense. He caught 24 passes for 257 yards last season.
Nicholas Bautista, Sr., ILB: The Vikings’ base 40 defense is anchored by Bautista, a physical 6-foot, 210-pounder. Bautista averaged 10 tackles per game in 2014, with 62 solo tackles.
Alex Morales, Sr., OL: Morales started at center last season, but could play there or at right guard this season. The offensive line is lacking experience, so the veteran Morales is highly important to Montgomery’s offense.
Soni Fakalata, Jr., S: This standout started as a sophomore. He’s a ballhawk and a run-stopping strong safety who is expected to do big things for the Vikings in 2015.
Game Not To Miss
Sonoma County League power Analy provides head coach Bautista with what he feels is the early-season’s biggest test on the road Sept. 12. The Tigers were 11-2 a year ago, 6-0 in the SCL. “Analy plays at a high level,” Bautista said, recalling the Vikings 42-21 loss to the Tigers last year. “That game will give us a really good perspective of where we are.”
Sensational senior running back O.J. Marchbanks rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead Montgomery to a 22-12 upset victory against Amador Valley in the 1996 North Coast Section Division 3A championship. A 6-foot, 205-pound tailback, Marchbanks had 34 carries as the NBL co-champs finished with an 11-2 record after the stunning win against the East Bay Athletic League champion. Marchbanks had TD runs of 2 and 6 yards. On the game-clinching, fourth-quarter burst, he raced 24 yards to the goal line before fumbling. Tackle Brian Kilkenny recovered in the end zone for the score.
Aug. 28 Napa 7:30
Sept. 4 at Hayward 7:00
Sept. 12 at Analy* 7:30
Sept. 25 at Maria Carrillo 7:30
Oct. 2 Rancho Cotate 7:30
Oct. 9 at Windsor 7:30
Oct. 16 Ukiah 7:30
Oct. 23 Santa Rosa 7:30
Oct. 30 at Cardinal Newman 7:00
Nov. 6 at Casa Grande 7:30
* – at Rancho Cotate High School