By Ray Hamill — Cruz Montana has the look of someone who’s enjoying his football right now.
And he has every reason to.
The senior quarterback has his team perfectly poised heading into league play this weekend, and seemingly ready to make some noise in the postseason after that.
The Loggers have been unstoppable so far, dominating some quality opponents on the way to a 7-0 record.
More importantly, however, a veteran group of players who have been playing together for several years, appear to be enjoying every minute of it.
“We’ve only got three weeks of practice before the playoffs, so we’re just trying to savor every moment and enjoy ourselves,” he said.
The Loggers came into the season with lofty expectations, and have handled them in their stride, taking a one-week-at-a-time mentality, something the coaches and the players continue to preach.
This weekend they will play crosstown rivals St. Bernard’s for the first time in about as long as anyone can remember, after the Crusaders moved up to the Big 4 this season.
The Loggers will go into league play as heavy favorites, looking to retain the title they won during a 10-0 regular season a year ago.
Most of the players from that team are back again in 2018, including their senior quarterback, who is now 18-1 as a starter and has passed for 3,180 yards and 35 touchdowns in those 19 games.
But Montana credits his teammates for his success.
“If I didn’t have all these good running backs and receivers and the line that I’ve got, I wouldn’t be able to do that,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of dudes that came back after working hard in the offseason.”
And, according to the senior QB, it’s a tight group, with many of them having played together for years dating back to when they were eight-year-olds.
“We’ve been together since youth football,” he said. “We love each other. and we just care about each other. We’ve been together a long time.”
Including along the offensive line, which has evolved in more ways than one.
“They’re big, first of all,” Montana said. “And they’re really smart. They’re clear on what we’re doing. And I just trust them … I can’t imagine having a better offensive line.”
Behind that protection, this season Montana has thrown for 1,562 yards and 17 TDs (while running for two more), and will likely surpass last season’s totals (1,618 and 18) this weekend against St. Bernard’s.
Montana, however, is expecting a tough battle from all three league opponents.
“Our league is competitive,” he said. “Everyone’s good. They’ve got good records, good players.”
The homecoming game is set for Saturday night at 6 p.m.