Story By David Campbell
The Bryan Vikings returned to Merrill Green Stadium.
Montgomery, which had played or scrimmaged in the Vikings’ stadium three times since Bryan’s last game there, got the return thing down perfectly.
Anthony Thomas had a pair of momentum-swinging kickoff returns for touchdowns in Montgomery’s 52-24 season-opening victory over the Vikings on Friday.
“I guess you live a long time and coach a long time, but I’ve never had a kicking game like that,” Bryan coach Ross Rogers said. “It was atrocious, and I’m in charge of the kicking game, so I take it personally. They were good enough to make us miss, and it looked like they had great speed.”
KeeKee Johnson’s 70-yard touchdown reception on a screen and dart down the right sideline pumped life into the Vikings’ offense and cut Montgomery’s lead to 15-7. But 13 seconds later, Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
Bryan got a lift heading into the halftime locker room, with Collin Lee’s 40-yard field goal to narrow the Bears’ lead to 31-17. Thomas had to wait for the bands to play before blunting that one. Most of his 88-yard return of the second-half kickoff went through open field as he shot through the Vikings’ coverage. He had 212 return yards for the Bears.
Montgomery shooting through was a Bryan problem all night. The Bears threw the Vikings’ for losses on their first three offensive plays, prompting Johnson’s entry into the contest. Coaches had hoped to rest Johnson, who had been sick. But with the offense ailing, too, the 6-0, 235-pound senior provided some much-needed medicine.
“It’s not that we didn’t do some good things, but they controlled what we could do,” Rogers said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage, and you’re always hunting and pecking when that happens. You couldn’t set anything up because of it and couldn’t get anything going. We really didn’t intend to play KeeKee that much, but I think he’s OK.”
Bryan junior quarterback B.J. Ross played under heavy pressure most of the night. He was sacked five times and whistled for two intentional grounding calls. Bryan drew 14 penalties for 110 yards. Montgomery had 10 penalties for 65 yards.
“Their defensive front did a great job off the ball, and we just didn’t block ’em,” Rogers said. “They were in our offensive backfield before the ball was a lot of times. It was pretty discouraging.”
Ross’ scrambling ability was his biggest asset, but the Bears often surrounded him early. Still, Ross completed 11 of 26 passes for 243 yards. After fumbling the football, Ross tossed a 50-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Sterling Whitley, who made a falling catch but completed that fall over the goal line.
Montgomery’s offense never had the same kind of threat from Bryan. The Bears used their familiar 1-2 punch on offense with quarterback Josh Bolfing and running back Paul Allen. Bolfing completed 11 of 25 passes for 195 yards, including a pair of late touchdown passes to Johnathan Thomas.
Allen had a 65-yard touchdown run, pushing outside to his right to get into open field. He finished with 147 yards on 15 carries.
“On both sides of the line of scrimmage, they were dominating,” Rogers said. “They had a polished quarterback who threw the ball well and they caught the ball well. We just couldn’t disrupt enough stuff.”
Bryan (0-1) will play at Conroe on Friday, while Montgomery (1-0) will host Aldine MacArthur.
Courtesy of the Bryan-College Station Eagle