by Andrew Garda
The reward for a job well done is often more work. That’s very true for the Montclair Mounties underclassman. The departing senior class set the bar pretty high this year, with an undefeated season and a championship at MetLife, so the rising juniors, sophomores and freshman have their work cut out for them.
Head coach John Fiore won’t crack the whip quite yet — “We don’t do anything until we get back from Christmas break. Always been my rule win or lose” — but he expects the younger guys to follow the example his seniors set.
“It sets up the next group. They had a great role model in what to do. I think that’s where the 2015 team didn’t take the model of senior leadership Elijah Robinson’s  group had, to use that as their blueprint. They tried to make their own way, and it cost them. Last year we didn’t have a group who’d seen that blueprint. These [seniors] fought through that and really made their own deal, their own legacy.”
Thier own legacy will include things like taking each game as an individual “season,” forming a brotherhood with their teamates and making sure they execute on the little things as well as the larger goals. It worked for the 2017 team, and every senior believes it should work for the 2018 group, as well as those that come after. It is, as Fiore said, a blueprint. All the teams going forward just need to follow it.
Ultimately, this senior class truly just wants the groups behind them to succeed like they did. They say the talent is there to do it too.
“The classes that are coming in are going to take over,” a confident Tysean Williams said after the Mounties’ 35-14 win. “They’re so much like our class, you know? There’s going to be a lot of sophomores and juniors playing next year, along with the seniors that you already know of. They’re going to dominate just the way we did and hopefully they can break [more] records because obviously they’re going to be capable of it. We’re Montclair and that’s what we do.”
Danny Webb agrees.
“They can easily, easily go back. They have all the talent in the world and they’re all really good guys.”
Not surprisingly, the seniors have some advice to give their younger counterparts and they took a moment to share it with us at Montclair Local.
Finn Jensen (LB/OL): I’ve talked to the kids like Willie and Josh — I told them you just have to bring senior leadership and maturity next year. Because [the team has] the talent they need to win, they just need to work hard in the offseason and prep for a good season. It’s about the senior leadership again.
Collin Callahan (WR): Just keep working. Never give up and don’t let anybody tell you no. Outwork everybody. If somebody goes 5 feet, you go 6 feet. Keep working, keep pushing.
Danny Banks (DB): You guys are fully capable of doing this. Keep it going and carry the tradition on. Yeah, we set the bar high but a lot of the younger guys had a lot to do with that, so definitely they have the opportunity and ability to. So keep going.
Harry Wiley (K): I’d just say, focus. Focus on every game. Don’t look ahead to the next game, just make sure you take care of each and every one. That’s why we went undefeated, because we didn’t take any games lightly and we just took every game as a single season and tried to go undefeated every time. Just take every game and never looking ahead.
[Editor’s note: Yes, Wiley said, he knows that is the most kicker response possible.]
Marcus Crowell (OL/DL): Obviously now that the younger guys have had a taste of victory, you would think they’d want to keep that going. This should keep them more hungry, and a lot of the work we put in and things we established here — working hard, going 1-0 [every game] — I want to pass that all down to them and tell them to really keep working hard. For the O-line, listen to Coach Kline and you’ll all be fine. He’s a great coach and I owe him a lot of my success this year. I love him to death.
Tarrin Earle (QB): Follow the example of leadership we left. Be selfless and don’t worry about the stats.
Elias Ottens (DE/TE): I think our senior class laid the foundation of what a championship mentality looks like. And it’s really just taking it serious every day. Even on your off days, you still have to take it seriously. I told a bunch of kids I think will be leaders next year, if you take it serious, the other kids will follow you. If you just take it serious every single day and do what you need to do, you’ll be a champion too. That’s what it comes down to. This game is won on effort and heart. If you have both of those things, you’ll be fine.
Danny Webb (RB): Stay focused. Don’t look ahead of anything and have fun when you’re doing anything, whether it’s football or anything in life. For the running backs, keep working. They know what’s at stake. We work really hard in practice, and during individual periods. There’s no better thing than playing with your brothers, and winning the state championship. Just stay focused and have fun doing it.