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Opinion

MCMURRY: North football sets standard for success

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There are many athletic programs in Montgomery County that stand out as successful programs year in and year out. And it’s no coincidence that a lot of the ones that come to mind have longtime coaches like Crawfordsville baseball, volleyball and swimming, North Montgomery volleyball, and Southmont football and wrestling — just to name a few. And I’m not just talking about wins and losses. They are certainly not the only measure of success, especially by coaches and even myself. I’m talking about character, handling adversity with class, and improving throughout the season no matter the circumstances.

North Montgomery football stands out above them all, and this fall the Chargers proved that.

Following consecutive losing seasons in 1997 and 1998, North Montgomery did not suffer back-to-back losing seasons again until they went 5-6 in 2016 and 3-7 in 2017. In 2018 the Chargers once again fell on hard times with a 4-7 record. It marked three straight losing seasons for the first time in the past 30+ years.

And in his fifth year at the helm of the program, Josh Thompson and the senior class wasn’t about to make it four-straight. The Chargers promptly got back to their winning ways. With a 3-4 record and their backs against the wall, North Montgomery rattles off three straight wins and finished the season 6-5.

Thompson is just the third coach in North Montgomery history since the start of the 1983 season, when Charley German took over the program. German retired a second time following the 2014 season, which allowed Thompson to take over in 2015.

The losing seasons followed an 8-4 year in Thompson’s first year, but this year proved the rich tradition at North Montgomery is still very much alive.

Aside from wins and losses I have always held the Chargers in a higher regard than many of their counterparts. For example the discipline does not go unnoticed. Last week in the sectional loss to Chatard, North Montgomery had just two penalties, and very seldom do you see the Chargers with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. This year the Chargers became the first program in the area to try a morning practice routine on Thursday. The idea was to give the players and coaches an evening off during the hectic season, and the overall reception of the change seemed very strong and encouraging from the players and coaches. Proof the North Montgomery coaching staff is ahead of the curve in adapting to today’s athletes.

Most notably on my end is for the last two years I have covered North Montgomery in their last game of the season, and coach Thompson makes sure to not leave the field until he shakes the hand or hugs every senior and thanks them for everything they’ve done for the program.

Things like that don’t go unnoticed, and it is by no accident that programs who do things the right way, also have success in the win/loss column.

I think it’s safe to say the transition from German to Thompson has paid off in more ways than one.

Whether it’s success on the field or in the hallways at school, or even in the future lives of former players — North Montgomery football sets the standard in Montgomery County.

Jared McMurry was born and raised in Montgomery County and is the Sports Editor of the Journal Review. He can be reached by phone at 765-918-8656 or by email at jmcmurry@jrpress.com

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