Krofton Montgomery knows in the game of life and football, one can only control the controllable.
This is something the West Hall coach not only just says, this is the Spartans motto.
It is a mindset.
“It is one thing I talk about a lot,” Montgomery said. “That’s work ethic, attitude and what you’re bringing every day.”
As West Hall (2-2, 0-1 Region 7-3A) prepares to visit Cherokee Bluff (5-0) on Friday at 7:30 pm, Montgomery was out in midfield watching his team execute in the drills and instruction provided by the coaching staff. His mindset is setting an unquestionable work ethic.
“Sometimes you may be outmatched,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes you may be getting beat. If I know you’re giving everything you got, I can go to bed at night feeling comfortable about that.”
Montgomery understands sometimes players can not control playing against someone bigger, faster or stronger than them on every snap. Those are uncontrollable traits. He does, however, expect his players to control how hard they go, how they prepare, and their work ethic. Montgomery, 40, looks to drive home that message on a daily basis, which extends beyond the football field.
As the Clyde, Ohio native enters his ninth season at the Oakwood school, the players know Montgomery will push them in the weight room, on the field, and in the classroom. It has helped many of the Spartans to stay focused on committed to achieving success.
“He wants you to get better,” senior Nick Sturm said. “He has that fire about him. He wants you to do the best you can. ‘CTC’ is what we call it.”
Each player has ‘CTC’ tokens given to them by team chaplain Ryan Phillips.
Sturm keeps them in his pocket at all times.
Whenever there are moments of adversity in school, the senior quarterback/middle linebacker pulls out those tokens as a reminder.
“Every time I look at them it helps me understand,” Sturm said. “It makes me calm down and control what I can control. The words speak for themselves.”
Controlling the controllable is something Montgomery has had to learn over the course of nearly 20 years of coaching. Before, whenever he was upset, there were weight room sessions of him pushing iron four to five times a week, including after Friday night games in the past.
He was working through those heated moments of emotions.
Then Montgomery worked for Winder-Barrow head baseball coach Brian Smith.
The veteran coach, taught this former Bowling Green University offensive lineman, how to remain even keel as a coach. Smith was not into embarrassing any officials or his players. He believed the preparation put in prior to the game is the reason the game was being played.
“I learned from him, more than anyone I have worked with, in understanding on staying in the moment and to not be so emotional and out of control,” Montgomery said. “Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it is bad. I learned a lot from him and his demeanor.”
Montgomery’s patience was put to the test early in the year. The Spartans were the last school in Hall County to get to play on their new turf field. It was scheduled to be set for West Hall’s home opener Sept. 3 against crosstown rival Johnson High. The progress on the field hit a snafu and the game has been re-scheduled for Oct. 29.
While many in the community were upset about the delay, Montgomery knew the focus did not need to become about the field.
“I compartmentalize it,” he said. “It was not something I don’t think a lot of people had any control of. The last couple of years have been some unprecedented times. You have to be thankful to coach this great game, be around kids and try to make an impact that will be lasting.”
Montgomery has already made a noticeable impact.
“I am going to take all the coaching I can,” Sturm said. “I want to be a sponge and take that fire he has for the win, the game, and take it with me wherever I go.”