The passing of 91-year-old Louise Montgomery last week leaves an irreplaceable void in the lives of York Comprehensive High School coaches, players, boosters, fans and everyone else associated with Cougar football.
The Cougar family was well represented at the funeral service held Dec. 10 at Bible Covenant Community Church.
"She attended all of York's football games, home and away," noted Steve Boyd, athletic director and longtime friend of the devoted football supporter. "She loved York football and the kids loved her and got to know her."
Boyd said former YCHS gridiron participants who played 20 years ago attended the funeral.
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Montgomery was honored as Fan of the Year a few seasons ago and was an active member of the school's athletic booster club for years.
"She had her own parking space and place to sit at the stadium," Boyd said. "When she was unable to drive, someone drove her to the games."
Boyd and head football coach John Barrett recall the Saturday morning in the 2007 season when coaches and players painted Montgomery's house.
"She sat on the porch teary-eyed," Boyd said. "She was so proud."
Barrett remembers the No. 1 Cougar fan's response the day her house was painted.
"It meant so much to her," he said.
Barrett said his wife and daughter got to know Montgomery before him.
"They sat near her at some of the games," he noted. "They said I needed to introduce myself to her before one of our games."
The last conversation I had with the YCHS football loyalist was moments before the Aug. 16 Herald Football Jamboree at Rock Hill's District Three Stadium. I looked up into the stands from the sideline and she motioned for me to come talk to her.
"It's good to see you back at the games," she said. "You take care of yourself and do what the doctor says."
With a new format showcasing all of the participating teams on a Saturday, the jamboree began at 4 p.m., extending to late night. It was the longest day in jamboree history.
I noticed that when the jamboree finally drew to a close, the Mother Teresa of York football had endured every game.
"They need to do something about people standing and blocking other people's view," Montgomery said as she departed the stadium.
Said Barrett of this remarkable lady's steadfast love for York football, "She genuinely cared about all of the players, often saying, 'These are my boys.'"