Montoursville whips Warrior Run

TURBOTVILLE – Montoursville head coach J.C. Keefer was going over a checklist of what he wanted to see from his Warriors after their 42-6 season-opening win over Warrior Run on Friday night. He wanted them to run the football, be physical, hand the ball to Cameron Ott and start getting his lead running back into shape.

Wait a minute. What? Get Ott into shape?

The 5-foot-10, 181-pound senior looked pretty fit to Warrior Run and those in attendance last night as he rushed for over 200 yards and scored twice – all in the first half.

Ott carried the ball only 10 times, but he definitely received a workout for his limited reps, accumulating 213 yards.

“I had a good half,” said Ott in the early-season favorite for understatement of the year. “Half of that was my line getting good blocks for me and my wide receivers and we had a good game plan coming in.”

The senior scored on runs of 44 and 45 yards through the thick humid air, showing both speed and power after his linemen gave him the small crack he needed inside the tackles or the outside the edge.

“If you give Cameron a crack, he is going to get yards,” Keefer said. “If you give him a hole, he’s gone.”

Montoursville (1-0) finished with over 350 rushing yards and led 28-0 after the first quarter and 42-0 at the half.

“We wanted to come in and make a statement the first game of the year and set the tone for the rest of the year and hopefully make a run,” Ott said.

The Warriors led 21-0 in the first quarter when they inserted freshman quarterback Brycen Mussina who immediately dropped back and found Alex Erb for a 22-yard touchdown on his first varsity pass.

Ethan Jones, Matt Shea and sophomore Keith Batkowski also scored rushing touchdowns as the Warriors received a healthy look at many young players under the Friday night lights for the first time.

Warrior Run threw for over 100 yards, but several drops hurt its chances to sustain any drives. Trailing 14-0, Zach Burrows, who lined up for the Defenders as their Wildcat quarterback, dropped back and lofted a pass to a streaking Derek Keiser down the left sideline that went in and out of the senior tailback’s hands inside the Montoursville 5.

Keiser did help set up the lone Warrior Run score in the third quarter, taking a short Hunter Raup pass over 40 yards before fumbling into the end zone and into the hands of Warrior Run lineman Evan Meyer.

Raup finished 9 of 16 for 112 yards.

Erb, one of 23 Montoursville seniors playing in their final opening night, caught three passes for Montoursville for 46 yards, including the 22-yard touchdown pass from Mussina where Erb used his body to shield his defender, catch the ball and roll into the end zone.

“We thought Warrior Run played well in its two scrimmages, so we weren’t taking them lightly by any means,” Keefer said. “Our kids came to play. We have 23 seniors and they know what is on the line here. They have worked hard for an entire high school career and they are not going to take any team for granted and they are not going to take any game for granted.”

While Montoursville’s offense established the run with eight consecutive rushes on its way to an eight-play, 58-yard touchdown drive to open the game, the Warriors’ defense took away Warrior Run’s running game. Keiser was dropped for negative yardage on his first two attempts and the Defenders ran for just 20 yards, including losing 17 on an errant snap.

“We are not nearly where we need to be in order to compete with them,” said Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows. “They absolutely gutted us.”

Montoursville plays its home opener next Friday against Central Columbia, while Warrior Run hosts rival Milton.