The anticipation that comes along for every soccer player at the beginning of the high school season is evident in each and every player. Manteca sophomore Marcus Montano surely had that excitement on the Buffaloes soccer field.
Moments after that it was as evident on the varsity football team’s practice field.
Montano will open the season as not only a returning starter in the Manteca High soccer program, but the starting place kicker for the varsity football team.
Montano made his debut on the football field late last fall, helping out the undefeated freshman team as the field goal kicker. His effortless success led to an audition with the varsity team and now Montano welcomes a full-fledge double duty.
“So far it looks like I’m the varsity kicker,” Montano said. “It feels really good that I can actually fit in with one of the best football teams around and still have a home with one of the best soccer teams, too.
“It makes me feel good about myself that I’m able to help two really good programs.”
Montano more than held his own on the soccer team a season ago, playing in each of the Buffaloes’ 23 games and finishing second on the club in goals scored. The Buffaloes will have lofty expectations for Montano during his second season, yet support him whole-heartedly in his dedication to the football squad.
“He’s very successful in both sports,” Manteca head soccer coach Justin Coenenberg said. “I think his longest field goal in a game was 38 yards, but he didn’t kick too many long ones. In practice, he’s kicking 62-yard field goals; he’s putting the ball in the back of the end zone on kickoffs.
“And that is with little, little training.”
Montano’s primary dedication obviously falls with his soccer brethren, but with the unquestioned skill he has field goal and place kicking there may be a future for him on the gridiron.
For now, he will apply the appropriate attention to each sport, trying to give each club a spark whenever he may be on the field. He has a routine in place – kicking sessions after soccer practice on the football practice field – to remain effective on the football field and hopes soccer will continue to come natural.
“I think it’s exciting,” Coenenberg said. “I think it’s fun. The football players loved having him out there and I think it’s good for our team, it’s good for both teams and it’s good for our school.”