Warrior Run at Montgomery football preview

Warrior Run facts: The Defenders must win their last two games to reach the district playoffs for the first time since 2007. Warrior Run started strong at 3-1, but has lost four straight. It just missed earning a big win last week, watching a 17-point halftime lead turn into a 21-17 loss to Hughesville. Still, the Defenders made major improvement from their previous three games and showed they are going in the right direction again. The defense held Hughesville to 280 yards after the Spartans had totaled 1,105 in their two previous games. Warrior Run also forced two turnovers and Anthony Delsite recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Linebackers Noah Showers and Pacey Howard are having excellent seasons and combined for 23 tackles. Both are smart and hard-hitting players who have a nose for the football. Quarterback Gage Anzulavich took a pounding all night, but kept responding and completed 10 of 18 passes for 152 yards while also catching a 26-yard touchdown pass. He needs only 82 yards to reach 1,000 yards for a second straight year. Running back Matt Gummo also is having a strong season leading the team in receiving and rushing. Gummo caught seven passes for 89 yards against Hughesville. A win tonight would give Warrior Run its most wins in a season since 2011.

Warrior Run player to watch–Kade Meyer: A versatile two-way starter, Meyer caught two passes last week and also threw a 26-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to Anzulavich. Meyer also is a good defensive back and had a drive-ending interception in the third quarter.

Montgomery facts: Believe it or not, but Montgomery still has District 4 Class A playoff hopes. If the Raiders pulled the upset tonight and beat Bucktail next week and Canton lost both its remaining games in which it will be the underdog, Montgomery would claim the fourth and final seed. Montgomery is much improved from last year’s winless season and has been much more competitive. That point was driven home in Week 3 when Montgomery came within 14 yards of beating Class A top seed Sayre. The Raiders also snapped a 19-game losing streak when they routed CMVT, 54-30 and led No. 2 Class A seed Wyalusing after the first quarter three weeks ago. Quarterback Brayden Strouse threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns against CMVT and wide receiver Jensen Drick became the program’s first 100-yard receiver since 2012. Leading rusher Eithan Marino ran for three scores in that win and Trevor Kennedy made one of the year’s best catches, falling down, but catching the ball as he lay on the ground. Strouse has accounted for a touchdown in all eight games. Keith Habersham has caught a team-high three touchdowns and linebacker Nick Pryor has had a good season sparking the defense.

Montgomery player to watch–Hunter Budman: One of several promising sophomores returning next season when Montgomery could have a breakout season, Budman leads Montgomery with 20 catches. Budman also is a good running back who is second on the team in rushing and who had two 100-yard games last year.

Outlook: Both programs are vastly improved from last season and this could be an entertaining game. It also marks a homecoming for Warrior Run coach D.J. Flick who shined at Montgomery before having excellent collegiate and professional careers, become a Canadian Football League all-star.