District 4 AA semifinal: Troy at Montoursville
When: 7 p.m., tonight
Troy ppg-38.4; ppa-14.8; ypg-383.9; ypa-268
Last playoff appearance-2012: lost to Athens, 21-9 in quarterfinals
Troy facts: The Trojans are soaring into tonight’s game, having won five straight games. Troy showed how dangerous it is last week, dominating the second half and beating Mount Carmel, 24-15 in the quarterfinals. Troy outscored Mount Carmel 18-8 in the second half, stuffing its running game and dominating the line of scrimmage while running for 372 yards. The Trojans have won nine of their last 10 games and have run for a district-high 3,861 yards. Quarterback Jed Wright brilliantly runs the teams option offense and is a 1,200-yard rusher for a second straight year. He ran for 178 yards and two scores last week, including a 65-yard game-clincher. Diante Jones and Brandon Mattocks also are dangerous backs, combining for 1,252 yards and 20 touchdowns. Both are big-play threats and Jones ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns against Mount Carmel. The running game has been so dominant that Troy has had to attempt just nine passes the last three weeks. Wright has been effective when throwing with a third of his completions going for touchdowns.
Troy player to watch-Josh McClaren: The senior will kick for Division I Liberty next year and also is one of the team’s running backs. He is a special teams weapon, kicking nine field goals and 51 extra points this season. McClaren has 20 field goals over the last two years.
Montoursville ppg-29.2; ppa-11.9; ypg-362.6; ypa-232.5
Last playoff appearance-2012: beat Lewisburg 37-33 in quarterfinals; lost to Mount Carmel 48-20 in semifinals
Montoursville facts: The Warriors are seeking their first district final appearance since 2008 and first championship since 2006. The team has been ravaged by injuries to key players but still started 9-0 and came within a play or two of going undefeated during the regular season. The latest big injury came last week as standout safety/wide receiver Alex Erb was lost for the season. Erb was one of the district’s top defensive backs the past two seasons and was the team’s leading receiver by far. Cameron Ott has played only once since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 6 against Lewisburg. He re-injured the ankle two weeks ago against Loyalsock but might play tonight. Four of the team’s best players have missed games this year but Montoursville has had its best year in five seasons, showcasing its resilience and depth. Wyatt Entz has been a symbol of that depth, playing both offensive line and tight end. He caught two passes for 110 yards an a touchdown in last week’s 27-16 quarterfinal win over Mifflinburg. Curtis Miller also came up big and caught a touchdown.
Montoursville player to watch-Cody Chilcot: One of the district’s best offensive lineman, Chilcot missed five games before returning for the regular-season finale against Loyalsock. Chilcot coming back is a huge boost and he will be instrumental to how Montoursville performs offensively tonight.
Outlook: Montoursville has had to work extra hard to reach this point, considering all the injuries it has endured. Tonight will be another big challenge against a formidable team. Do not be suprised if this one comes down to the final minute.