02/18/11 — Stevens: Jones, Montgomery prove wins, losses aren't true formula for success today

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Stevens: Jones, Montgomery prove wins, losses aren't true formula for success today

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 18, 2011 1:47 PM

Today's society measures athletic success in wins, state championships and Division I scholarship offers.

Goldsboro's Andre Montgomery and Freddie Jones are walking examples that there's much more that goes into being a winner.

The Cougars' heralded backfield duo combined to rush for 8,774 yards and 126 touchdowns, were part of 32 wins and two consecutive Carolina 1-A Conference championships during their prep careers. The two long-time friends helped Goldsboro make three playoff appearances, including a trip to the eastern championship game in 2009.

Montgomery was selected to play in this season's 74th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

Despite never winning a state championship, Montgomery and Jones experienced the epitome of winning on Wednesday by signing national letters-of-intent with Fayetteville State and Johnson C. Smith, respectively.

When initial interest from Division I schools began to disappear toward the end of the recruiting process, Montgomery and Jones wisely realized the invaluable opportunity of playing at a smaller school where increased playing time can often make individual development easier.

The internet and 24-hour sports networks have turned recruiting into a borderline religion. No longer do the majority of high school athletes realize the value of a college program that's the right fit rather than a school that's a household name.

Montgomery and Jones are the exception, not the rule.

Well-spoken, mature and humble, Montgomery and Jones back up their play on the field with who they are as people. They've never embarrassed Goldsboro's program off the field or in the classroom.

"They are two fine young men plain and simple," said emotional Cougars' head coach Eric Reid. "They were just a joy to coach. It's just a privilege and an honor to be able to learn from these two. I have learned some things from just being around these two individuals that are just mind boggling.

"I've been around a lot of talented individuals and their humbleness is really going to take them a long way."

High school coaches are judged by wins and losses more now than they've ever been. Often overlooked is producing quality people, placing an emphasis on being a student-athlete and helping players get an opportunity to earn college degrees.

"That's what it's all about at the end of the day, seeing these young boys grow into men and going off to further their education and better themselves into adulthood and prepare for possibly fatherhood," said Reid. "That lets me know it was all worthwhile. It's hard, it's like having a child leaving home, but you know they're going on to bigger and better things. I'm proud of them."

Wayne County may not currently be the football hotbed it once was, but that's far from reflective on the level of success here. Local programs continue to send kids to college and produce people this area can be proud of on a daily basis.

State championships are nice.

But teaching today's youth what winning in life means is really the ultimate prize.