On any given Friday night, the only thing Santa Barbara High football fans may not see is Ty Montgomery handing out popcorn in the concession stand.
The junior practically does it all week in and week out.
He is a key player for the Santa Barbara offense – both running and receiving out of the backfield. He is part of a five-man rotation at linebacker for a defense that hasn’t allowed an offensive touchdown in over a month. He’s also a focal point on special teams – serving as the team’s punter and kicker.
“He’s a very good athlete,” coach J.T. Stone said. “I told him before the season ‘you and Justin Perez aren’t going to come off the field’ and Ty has just picked it up tremendously and he’s accepted that role with zero complaints.
“If anything he wants to be fed the ball more, he wants more action on defense. He’s accepted that role and he’s become that. We expected it.”
Stone said he had an idea of what kind of player Montgomery could be long before he suited up in the olive and gold. Montgomery’s dad, Dennis, coached Stone as a freshman at Dos Pueblos. Stone is also close with Montgomery’s uncle, Casey.
“I already knew what the DNA was,” Stone said. “They were all hard-nose, no nonsense guys who play hard. I knew I had a special player.”
Montgomery missed most of last season after breaking his collarbone on two separate occasions. He was frustrated to be a spectator, but was able to join the team in the latter part of the season and make an impact.
“I really missed out on it last season,” Montgomery said. “I was at all the practices and games, but they weren’t really letting me go fully because my collarbone was fragile.”
Montgomery said his kicking ability comes from his soccer background. His skill set was put on full display in Santa Barbara’s 27-21 win over Lompoc on Oct. 18, when he made a pair of fourth quarter field goals – including a 45-yarder – to clinch the victory.
“If you’re put out there, you’re put out there for a reason,” Montgomery said. “That’s how my dad always told me to play.”
He is also a standout baseball player, chasing down fly balls in the outfield. Growing up he played shortstop, catcher and even pitcher when his number was called.
“Being an athlete is the most important,” he said, “so you might as well learn everything.”
Santa Barbara defensive coordinator Ralph Molina, who also runs the team’s special teams unit, said he has been impressed with Montgomery’s performance this season.
“He’s a weapon and he’s a great kid,” Molina said. “He’s a big part of this.”
Montgomery said that growing up playing YFL, he often determined whether the team would run sprints at the end of practice.
“Once I learned I could kick of 45 or 50 yarder… I felt like, why not stick with it,” Montgomery said.
Stone said he plans on sending Montgomery to a kicking school next summer to refine his craft.
“We haven’t had that special team threat like that in a while,” Stone said, mentioning former kicker Alea Hyatt. “It’s definitely an asset and he’s only going to get better.”