BLANCHARD – For a team that has only 18 players, Montabella’s football team has a good thing going.
The Mustangs are 3-0 going into a big game Friday.
“We’ve come out playing real hard,” coach David Clay said. “The guys have responded really well. The seniors have stepped up and led the younger guys that we’ve pulled up to the varsity (last year).”
Clay also is knocking on wood with his team’s health, something he’s been doing all season.
“We haven’t had any injuries and that’s been a huge factor in the way we started,” he said.
Friday, though, Montbella hosts the Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Irish, who has been a mainstay at the top of the Mid-State Activities Conference South Division standings.
Sacred Heart this year is a very good team,” Clay said. “Their record is very deceiving. To look at their record, they’re much better than their record indicated.”
Their record is 1-2, but they lost to a ranked Beal City team and a ranked Muskegon Catholic Central team around a mercy of conference opponent Ashley.
“They have a solid group of guys,” Clay said of the Irish. “The quarterback they have is a senior and throws a very nice ball. They have a couple of seniors on their offensive line that are playing well. Defensively they play solid, smart defense. They’re not the type of team that does a lot of blitzing. They’re sound fundamentally.”
Clay has been pumping the undefeated record of the Mustangs heavily on his team in practice.
“We believe we have a good team as well. We’ve talked to the guys all week about that,” he said. “We’re 3-0 for a reason. The big starting part is to have that confidence that we’re undefeated and we’d like to stay that way.”
Clay believes both Montabella and Sacred are similar teams.
“We’re a couple of even teams,” he said. “Very evenly matched across the board. It’s going to come down to who executes the (game) plan and who has the fewest turnovers.”
Clay is still looking to dictate the game to the Irish.
“I think we have to be able to play our game,” he said. “We have to establish a running game and hit passes at key times. If we’re not able to do that it’s going to be a long night. As far as them (Sacred Heart), whoever controls the line of scrimmage will be successful. It’s going to come down to the five guys in the front of the line.”