MONROE, N.C.-- The kicker on Piedmont High School’s football team is one of the highest-scoring kickers in Union County – a statistic a parent would keep track of.
But Jade Montgomery’s parents felt special pride Friday night when their young kicker made seven out of seven point-after kicks – and was also crowned Homecoming Queen.
When Montgomery slipped on the tiara and satin sash at halftime, the sash had to fit over her shoulder pads and her #10 jersey.
"The pads were so big I couldn't get my Texas mum on my shirt right, so I had to get all these girls to get it on right -- and have someone bring me a brush and a headband so I could get sort of decent," she said with a laugh.
This is Montgomery’s senior year, but also her first year on the Piedmont football team.
She has big cleats to fill – she took over the job from big brother Mason, who was the team’s kicker last year. Montgomery said the first game wasn’t easy.
"The very first game was awful. I was so nervous, and that was the hardest part -- getting over the fear of getting hit," she said.
Not surprisingly, that was her dad’s biggest fear too.
“I was scared to death,” said Tim Montgomery, shaking his head. “Just someone get through and have a cheap shot at her.” He credits her teammates with keeping her safe. “They really protect her.”
Montgomery didn’t just decide to pick up sports her senior year – she’s been playing soccer since she was three, and her bedroom sports trophies and medals from basketball and t-ball too.
Plaques marking her all-conference Player of the Year status and other all-star teams hang on her wall. Her longest kick in a game so far was 28 yards, but she also kicked a 42-yarder in practice. Not bad.
All of her accomplishments made it easier to fit in and be “one of the guys.”
“They all liked it, they thought it was cool,” she said, noting that she’d been playing basketball with most of them since elementary school.
But even though this year has been a real “kick” for Montgomery, she knows she is done with the game once the season is over.
Colleges are calling to bring her back to the “other” football field – their soccer teams.
She and her dad say it’s still a year well-spent.
"She knows she can do anything,” nods Tim Montgomery. “As long as she puts her mind to it she can do anything."