When the time comes for Mason Gee-Montgomery to replace his pads and football helmet with basketball shorts and shoes, he knows the focus will be on defense.
That’s far from the focus on the football field.
The Stockbridge junior quarterback hopes to delay that transition for a little bit and continue to throw the ball around in the Panthers’ pass-centered attack.
“It’s actually funny. On our basketball team it’s strictly defense,” Gee-Montgomery said. “Coach preaches defense. When we’re playing football, it’s our wide-open offense and we fly around and make things happen.”
Plenty of things have happened on the football field for Stockbridge, which enters Friday’s Division 5 playoff opener at No. 2-ranked Portland (9-0) as the highest scoring team in mid-Michigan. The Panthers (7-2) have scored more than 50 points five times this season and are averaging 47.2 points.
And the record-setting Gee-Montgomery is leading the way with numbers this fall — 2,896 passing yards and 49 touchdowns — that would be considered good career totals for many quarterbacks. Gee-Montgomery’s 49 touchdown passes this season eclipsed the previous state record of 48 that was set by former Lansing Catholic star and current Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush in 2011. And Rush compiled his record in 14 games, while Gee-Montgomery reached that total in nine contests.
Gee-Montgomery also has achieved a feat he likened to a perfect game by a baseball pitcher when he set a state record with 22 straight completions during a win over Maple Valley earlier this month. Rush also previously held that record.
“It’s one of those wild things,” Stockbridge coach Jeremy Killinger said while discussing Gee-Montgomery’s record season. “Everybody has to remember it is a team game and he’s got an awful lot of good pieces around him.
“Mason is just a student of the game. He’s a 4.0 student, top of the class and very motivated. He worked as hard as everyone else and organized the kids in the spring last year to get them around and throw. We trust him to make decisions on the field and he gets stuff done.”
Gee-Montgomery has benefited from a pair of receivers — Austin Cimala and Kolby Canfield — that is the best tandem Killinger has had at Stockbridge. Both have more than 1,200 receiving yards this fall. There’s also the steady play of the offensive line and other blockers like fullback Devin Lemble that gives Gee-Montgomery opportunities to more than throw the ball, which was the case last week.
“We can still run the football and that’s the fun part,” Killinger said. “Last week, Mason had a phenomenal game. He threw five touchdown passes, sets the state record for passing touchdowns but he rushed for 363. We can still run the ball if we need to, but it’s more about having a diverse enough offense to take advantage of what the defense presents us. We aren’t necessarily going to throw it all the time, but if you let us throw it all the time, we will.”
Gee-Montgomery, who is receiving college interest from Ivy League programs, has enjoyed taking advantage of what’s been presented during a record-setting season that he hopes will last a few more weeks.
“You never just start out at the beginning of the season thinking that you’re going to go and break any state records. As a team, we just wanted to play football and have fun and see where it took us.
“The game is always more fun when you’ve got great teammates around you that every time someone scores we all run down there and cheer for each other and we always want each other to do our best.”
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.