MILTON - Montoursville's Clay Stoner looked straight ahead and all he saw between himself and a second first-half touchdown was a Milton safety. The diminutive senior running back left the helpless safety behind and kept his footing on the muddy track for the remaining 50 yards.
Stoner with his quick, short and choppy steps was right at home on the damp turf.
"When you have a field like this, when it might be getting a little mushy, we're like, OK, let's get the ball to Clay," said Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer.
Cameron Ott of Montoursville (28) accepts congratulations after running off the field Friday night at Milton.
Stoner's 214-yard, two touchdown night was just a part of Montoursville's dominating 45-12 win over Milton on Friday night.
Quarterback Aaron Cole threw three touchdown passes, Garrett Evans caught a pair of scores, the defense allowed just 12 points and junior linebacker Cameron Ott was responsible for two safeties.
It was the most complete performance by the Warriors since maybe a Week 4 win over Hughesville. Montoursville, which finished a stretch of four games against four potential playoff teams, had a chance to have a little fun last night.
The best part, the Warriors (5-3), who entered Friday night sitting in the eighth spot in the District 4 Class AA playoff standings, left Milton with 160 playoffs points.
Friday's game expected to a dogfight with two teams entering with identical 4-3 records and after a scoreless first quarter it was. Milton turned away the Warriors twice at the 1-yard line late in the first quarter, but on a fourth-and-goal Stoner pushed his way into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter.
A mishandled kickoff left Milton (4-4) at its own two and a play after Cameron Ott and the Montoursville defense thought it had a safety, Ott made sure the officials had a reason to signal for one. Ott came blitzing around the end from Brady Chappell's blindside and buried the Milton quarterback in the end zone.
Milton came right back with a Josh Brown 17-yard touchdown run, but the Warriors scored the next 16 points of the half. Cole hit Evans behind the Black Panthers' defense for a 23-yard score and Stoner ended the first-half scoring with his 73-yard run on a third-and-19.
In between, it was Ott coming around the opposite end of the line to block a punt that teased him before traveling through the end zone for a safety.
"I never really seen it before, either," said Ott about contributing to a pair of safeties in a single game.
Montoursville scored first in the second half on a 1-yard TD pass from Cole to Evans on a hard play fake and the Warriors led 32-6.
Cole, who had two touchdown passes entering last night, threw for three against the Black Panthers. He finished 9 of 19 for 114 yards.
"It's a change of pace for our offense with Griffin (Dunne), so it helps our offense out a lot but I felt like I could get into more of a rhythm staying in the game so it was pretty important," said Cole, who played the entire contest before handing the ball over the JV quarterback.
Cole benefitted from a strong running game that included Stoner, Matt Krezmer and Ott and took shots down the field with play-action passes at comfortable places on the field. The Warriors ran for 333 yards behind solid blocking from the offensive line, lead backs and wide receivers.
The offense did commit three first-half turnovers (2 fumbles and an interception), but the defense after allowing 37, 27 and 21 points the last three weeks didn't allow any of the three miscues to turn into any points.
"Our defense played a lot better tonight and they played with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder," said Keefer.
Montoursville, which ended a two-game losing streak, plays at Mifflinburg next week before closing the regular season with the Battle of the Bridge against rival Loyalsock, which is also in the thick of a crowded District 4 Class AA race.
"We were better than we played the last two weeks and we knew that," said Keefer.