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December 9, 2022

Jorge Montes’ play at the center position is under appreciated by fans, but cherished by the Hollister High coaches

The center position in football is one of the most underappreciated in all of sports. 

Centers run block, identify and defend blitzes up the middle and, of course, snap the ball to the quarterback. And while the center-quarterback exchange seems rather rudimentary, botched exchanges between the two aren’t that unique to the high school game. 

In other words, they happen more often than one might think. Which means every solid team needs a reliable center, and that’s what Hollister High has in Jorge Montes. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound senior constantly uses feedback from his coaches and reviews video/game film to improve. 

For example, Montes said he played his best game in a 17-13 loss to Palma on Oct. 7. During practice that week, Montes said offensive line coach Chris Cameron instructed him to “fix some things.” Montes got the message, loud and clear. 

“The Monday after the game, coach Cam was telling me I had played my best game,” Montes said. “He mentioned my hand placement and the way I struck my guy and ran my feet through it. I was watching myself on film and noticed I was being more aggressive. Another big thing I improved on was playing through the whistle more and knowing where my first step was going to be.”

The Haybalers (5-4 overall, 3-2 league) play their Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division finale at Aptos High on Nov. 4 in a game that has Central Coast Section playoff seeding ramifications. Currently projected to be in the Division III field, a win could vault Hollister into Division II. 

But forget the postseason for a moment: Montes said the team needs a victory to show it’s continuing to head in the right direction. 

“I feel like we need to win a crucial game like this,” he said. “If we can beat Aptos, it will keep the momentum for us going hopefully through the playoffs and for us to take it all the way.”

Montes continued: “For the offensive linemen, we want to maintain our blocks and stay confident through the whole thing. One of the key things I want to focus on is keeping my eyes open for linebackers because I can’t have them running through the gaps and making the play. From watching film on Aptos, we’re going to be seeing a lot of stunts so we’ll have to be prepared for that.”

Montes is a first-year starter, having served as the backup center in 2021. But that year proved vital in his development and gave him confidence entering this season. 

“Last year helped me a lot with the tempo of the game as I transitioned from JV to varsity,” he said. “Varsity is entirely different and way more fast paced. I can’t recall my first varsity snap, but there was a game against Alvarez I got put in for the fourth quarter and felt like I did pretty good.”

Montes said his cohesion with quarterback Abel Galindo continues to evolve and sharpen.

“I’d say the chemistry is good,” he said. “We’re constantly talking and he tells me what I need to improve on in terms of him getting the ball. And I find what works for me because I need to snap the ball and take that first step and be ready to blow up on someone.”

Montes said he has a tendency to look down once the ball is snapped, so he’s making a conscious effort to keep his head up—literally. Montes’ motivation lies in playing for his teammates and in particular the guys next to him on the offensive line. 

“One thing that has pushed me along is the thought of one last go-around with my brothers,” he said. 

Montes appreciates Cameron for inspiring him to play at a higher level and to reach his potential. 

“He pushes you to be better as long and as long as he’s coaching you, he’s not going to give up on you,” Montes said. “He’s going to push you to the best of your ability.”

Emanuel Lee
Emanuel Lee is the sports editor of the Los Gatan, Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. An American High and University of Kentucky alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Gavilan College, various youth sports in south Santa Clara/San Benito counties and pro sports on occasion. Two decades of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. With the Weeklys/NewSVMedia group since 2013. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40 (7:24 mile pace), counts himself as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza. Coaches, athletic directors and parents are encouraged to report scores to [email protected]

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