MONTGOMERY?- Some teams play for the glory of victories. Others play for the love of the game.
Canton was too big, too strong and too fast for the oft-undermanned Montgomery football team Friday night at Red Raider Stadium, defeating the Red Raiders 42-0, but don't tell Montgomery coach Tom Persing that his players aren't winners.
"The outcome at the end of the day is we're a little small and the victories aren't usually in our favor, but I'm blessed to have these kids come out here and give it their all," Persing said.
Austin Armolt of Montgomery grabs Canton’s Chase Pepper Friday night at Montgomery.
But their all wasn't enough to win the game.
The Warriors needed just six plays of offense to jump out to an early 7-0 lead. Tyler Cole capped off the opening drive, taking a John Bowman screen pass 20 yards to the end zone.
But Persing's team didn't hang their heads; they kept competing. And while they weren't able to put any points on the board, they were able to make some plays, including intercepting Bowman twice.
First Zach Shadle and then Craig Thomas were the players who came up with the picks.
"This was one of the best games I've ever seen Zach play. He's one the toughest corners in the area," Persing. "And as a senior, playing in his final home game, Craig gave us everything he had.
Unfortunately for Shadle - and the Red Raiders - he wasn't able to perform as well on offense.
Montgomery couldn't muster a single first down in the opening half, only totaling 11 total yards in the first 24 minutes and just 70 yards for the entire game.
"They've [Canton] got relentless pressure with their defense and they just keep on coming," Persing said. "They made it hard for us to do some of the things we usually do."
The Warriors were also propelled to victory by a relentless rushing attack that racked up 366 yards on 41 carries. Cole and Bowman each finished with over 100 yards and a rushing score.
"Canton is really well coached and they play hard," Persing said. "They could make the playoffs and do some things when they get in there. "
As for the Red Raiders, the playoffs are nowhere in sight. The loss drops Montgomery's record to 1-8 and the team will travel to South Williamsport to close out its season next week.
And while the Red Raiders did not win Friday night, and probably won't win its season finale, this team has undoubtedly won the respect of its head coach.
"This is a great bunch of kids and they all work, Persing said. "The keep coming day in and day out because they love football and they want to play the game."