Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mtn. View football: John Munger profile

In mid-December, I interviewed Mountain View (Idaho) lineman John Munger and we talked about the Mavericks' 2012 football season, as well as his sports career, in general. Munger anchored MV's offensive and defensive lines and has a chance at last to play at the college level. Here is the article that will appear in the team's 2012 football yearbook.

John Munger:

 ‘Big John’ used his high energy level
to create holes in opposing defenses

 By Bruce Smith

             For as long as he can remember, John Munger has been bigger than his friends.
            By his senior year at Mountain View High School, he was 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds. He was the anchor of the team’s offensive and defensive lines. He also wrestled heavyweight and played first base on the baseball team.
            “I played with a motor,” Munger said. “I felt like I could always compete, even if I was tired. I would do my best to beat them. I have that real competitive urge to beat everybody.
            “I had a size advantage on a lot of kids,” he added. “I was pretty experienced and I felt like I had a lot more confidence.”
            Munger played three seasons on the varsity football team. As a senior, he was recognized by opposing coaches for his ability to open holes on the offensive line. He made first team all-SIC and first team all-state. Munger played a big role as the Mavericks’ 6-3 season that also featured a balanced offense.
            Mountain View coach Judd Benedick could only smile when reflecting about the team’s biggest player.
            “Big John … never missed a snap,” he said. “He was a tough kid. He’d just swallow you up. In my mind, he’s a Division 1 (college football) player, but that’s tough to figure out. He’s a mountain of a man.”
            Munger was a two-year starter on the football team and had several college football teams considering him by the end of the season. Boise State asked him to walk-on, but he had not yet decided at press time.
            “Football is the way I want to go,” Munger said. “I’ve always been a lot better in football than anything else.”
            On defense, Munger finished the season with 27 tackles and had one sack and a fumble recovery. He said his best game was against Boise, and mostly because of what happened on offense. The Mavs totaled 572 yards in that game.
            “What I remember most was that our O-Line as just pushing them around like they were dolls,” he said. “We were moving them around anywhere we wanted.”
            Munger also had good memories of Mountain View’s late-season wins over Centennial and Eagle.
            “Both of those games were great for the defense,” he said. “We really after those guys (Eagle). We were inspired and the Eagle has always been a great game. Last year, we did the same thing. We beat them at their own place this year it happened to work out again.
            “The Eagle game last year (2011) was my favorite,” he added. “They were undefeated going into that game and they had a quarterback – the No. 2 quarterback in the nation – and we came in and rolled them.”
            Munger started playing football as a fifth grader, but it was the last two seasons that were the most memorable. As a junior, he was part of a Mountain View defense that ranked No. 1 in the SIC. This season, despite losing several front-line teammates to graduation, the Mavericks dropped only to second – behind Rocky Mountain.
            “We had a lot of younger guys step up and fill their shoes pretty well,” he said. “We got away with only missing a little bit. A few experienced defensive players took them under their wings, show them the ropes so they could grow up faster.”
            That was evident, and paid huge dividends late in the season when Mountain View won three straight games, defeating Centennial, Eagle and Vallivue. Early on, it took big plays to secure victories. Munger said he had two favorites:
            “When we played Timberline, I ended up getting a forced fumble and a sack on the same play. That was pretty sweet,” he said. “It ended up that we forced three straight turnovers. With Timberline, you can’t overlook them or they will get you.
            “The other play was the Vallivue game. I stuffed a sweep to the outside in the backfield about five yards deep (behind the line of scrimmage). Their running back (Kato Johnson) was going to play on our team but he moved back (to the Vallivue area) right before the season started. It was the last game of the season, so our athletic trainer wanted me to point at her. I did, and it was pretty funny.”
            Munger said that, despite not making the playoffs, he felt it was a good season. The school had to endure the loss of three students (Tiffany Walters, Robert Rogers, Scott Hyde), who had died in recent months and the football team helped build morale.
            “It hit Mountain View pretty hard, but it also helped make us a tight-knit group,” Munger said.

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.