ASHLAND, Ore. — Mason Montgomery has the instincts of a great football player. Those instincts go along with a passionate motivation.
“I feel like he has certainly the tangible skills, but he’s got great intangibles,” said head coach Charlie Hall. “His work ethic and his competitiveness are just off the charts.”
Those skills, whether tangible or intangible, are partly rooted in his family tree. Mason’s father Mitch played football at Southern Oregon University in the 90s. One of his coaches at the time was Charlie Hall, now Mason’s head coach at Ashland.
“Mitch was part of a really good team, and I think things really started to ascend for the program at that time, you know?” said Hall. “Some good players started to emerge out of the SOU program.”
Mason and his brother Max were babies at the time, but it wasn’t long before their parents started to see the skills that Hall now praises.
“They always had the knack to hit hard even when they were really little,” said Mitch. “They had this, I don’t know, it was crazy, always this, BAM, all the time. Everybody was like, ‘wow, they hit really hard.’ They loved it, and I liked watching it.”
“They started off with soccer, and then it was just like Mason was too aggressive for that,” said Molly Montgomery. “Then he played football and he was really excited because he said, ‘mom, I tackled somebody and they were saying good job,’ because in soccer, he would accidentally knock kids over.”
Now, it’s not so accidental. Mason is one of the top linebackers in the state. He’s also one of Oregon’s best wrestlers, but he prefers football.
“Wrestling’s an individual sport,” said Mason. “It’s great. I love the competition, but winning a game with guys that you’ve been working so hard with for so long, there’s nothing like that.”
One of the guys Mason gets to share those wins with is his brother Max.
“It’s been fun to kind of compete with him and try to be as good as he is,” said Max. “Obviously he’s pretty good so it’s fun to have that brotherly competition.”
As much as Max looks up to Mason, both brothers look up to Mitch.
“It was the reason we started playing football so, yeah, I learned a lot from him,” said Max. “He kind of taught me the basics of football.”
Mason enjoys football because it feels like a family on the field. Maybe that’s because football is a part of his family.