A few teams are heading to the state tournament. We wish them well, and I will keep you posted. Most are gearing up for their winter activities. It is a great time of year. A transition. A new chapter.
My heart is heavy this week. Lots going on, kids. But I feel for my Montoursville chums. Coach Mike Boughton was a good dude. We shared many friends. Mike and I would say hello before a game that I would call. But I didn’t know him that well. Things quickly changed for Mike and his family after a diagnosis this summer. Mike continued to fight, and I loved how the entire community rallied behind him. Not just Montoursville, but everyone played a part. It was great to see. Football was a distant second. It really puts things into perspective. Unfortunately, Coach Mike Boughton lost his battle with cancer.
“He was an amazing friend,” Montoursville’s Jamie Yonkin said. “Mike was a great person. He had an incredible ability to see the best in people. Mike was a fantastic coach. He always found ways to get the best out of his players. We are going to miss him.”
Boughton was passionate when it came to football. A stud lineman for Montoursville in the mid-90s. Mike proudly wore the number 77. He was a big part of the Warrior’s successes. Football was an important part of his life.
Mike began coaching in 2006 and remained with the team until this fall. Boughton wore many hats for the borough. He was on staff during the latter part of Jim Bergen’s great run. Mike served as an offensive line coach during JC Keefer’s tenure. He became the head coach of the Warriors two years back. Mike battled through all kinds of adversity and saw some rather tough days. But Coach never buckled nor complained. Mike remained a Warrior until the very end.
“Mike and I grew up together,” Vince Reeder stated. “We played every sport, but football really brought us together. We became brothers. Mike was the nicest guy off the field. But he was such a fierce competitor. No one was going to outwork him. He treated every snap, whether it was practice or a game, the very same. He coached the same way. Mike devoted his time to molding young men to be their best. Both on and off. It showed by the admiration and support he had from his players. Mike was a great friend. He’d do anything.”
Boughton loved his players. Past and present. He was very well respected. The Warriors always responded. He was more than a coach. Mike was a great mentor. Boughton made them better. Both on and off the field. He was a class act. Mike Boughton did things the right way.
“Mike was a great football coach,” JC Keefer added. “He was an even better friend. But what separates him from the rest was his loyalty to his team. If there was ever a time I needed help with weight room coverage, help handing out equipment, or someone to attend a rules interpretation meeting — Mike was always there. He used all his vacation time to attend our two-a-day practices in August. He would do anything for any of his players. Coach Boughton was outstanding. He developed a trust with his lineman. Mike could push them further than anyone else could. They loved him. He had their backs no matter what. Mike was a Warrior.”
The circle of life is hard, kids. And it gets tougher the older we get. I feel for Coach Mike Boughton’s family. My heart also goes out to the Montoursville Warriors. This one was tough. Mike was my age. We shared the same obsession. Wins are nice. But it is what you do off the field or court that measures successes. Congratulations Coach. You made several lasting impacts. Cheers.