A.J. Montgomery has been wearing the No. 21 jersey for every football team he’s played on since the fourth grade.
First it was the Vikings from his time in bantam league.
These days Montgomery, who back in the day chose the number as a tribute to former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders, proudly models it for Greenwood High School.
Sanders retired from professional football after the 2011 season, but Montgomery continues to do the number proud by averaging 6.8 tackles for the Woodmen.
“A.J. has continued to grow as a player and a leader in our program,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said. “He has shown great maturity. A.J. is a physical kid who enjoys contact. He is a downhill linebacker and a very good blocker.”
The latter comes into play when the Woodmen offense is nearing the goal line.
It’s here Montgomery is often put in the lineup to block for the team’s primary ball carriers — junior Brandon Rosado and sophomore Isaiah Borjas.
His specialty, however, is helping lead a defense that was allowing opponents an average of 9.5 points a game prior to Friday night’s 28-0 home loss to Plainfield.
Montgomery posted his season-high number of nine tackles in wins against Perry Meridian and Mooresville.
“We’ve got a lot of returning people on defense, so everyone knows what they’re doing,” said Montgomery, who holds a 3.6 grade-point average and would like to be majoring in engineering at Purdue University a year from now.
“Last season I was a little uncomfortable out there, but now I trust my reads more and get to where I need to be faster.”
Name: A.J. Montgomery
Family: Parents, Doug and Johanna; brother, Austin, 21; sister, Ally, 16
Favorite TV show: “Breaking Bad”
Favorite food: Seafood
Favorite movie: Any superhero movie
Favorite athlete: Bob Sanders
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts