by Max Osias ’24
Published Dec. 1st, 2021
While the Montgomery Cougar Football final 3-6 record doesn’t indicate a standout season, their record shows very little of what they truly accomplished.
After starting the year on a four game slide, the team’s fortunes changed when sophomore quarterback Michael Schmelzer became eligible to play after transferring from Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville. In his first game, the Cougars picked up a 28-13 win over Franklin with strong play on both sides of the ball.
The Cougars cruised to back-to-back wins against Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Iselin Kennedy, playing for a rejuvenated crowd at Cougar Stadium and showing some true spirit. The team then moved into their Oct. 29th matchup with the Cranford Cougars, where they ultimately lost a tough game in the rain to one of NJ’s most elite teams.
Despite this loss, the Cougars snuck into the playoffs with a 3-5 record, where they drew a tough matchup on the road against Northern Highlands. The Highlanders proved to be too much for the Cougars, handing them a 61-14 loss that ultimately ended their season.
QB Schmelzer reflected on the season, stating, “The chemistry in the locker room was just phenomenal, everyone got along and loved playing football together.” Indeed, the whole team seems to be one big family.
Schmelzer added that the coaching staff had supported him tremendously both on and off the field and expressed gratitude for their help during the transfer process.
He then talked about the departing seniors, proving them to be strong role models for himself and all the other players. While talented players such as Alex Benitez, Mark Jenkins, and Brandon Furey are all graduating this year, a strong junior class looks to step up and continue the leadership exhibited across every MHS team.
Looking ahead, Schmelzer believes the team is going to shock a lot of people next year and will gain the respect he feels they deserve. The team is aware of their potential and looks to keep working throughout the off season as they prepare for next year.
While the 2021 Cougar football season had its highs and lows, the team delivered standout games, memorable moments, and a powerful school spirit that will not be forgotten.