Ott does it all in Warriors’ victory

JUDI PINKERTON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent North Penn-Mansfield’s Bryan Bogaczyk tries to bring down Montoursville’s Logan Ott during Friday night’s game at Memorial Stadium in Montoursville.

The University of Maryland may be rethinking its decision to sign Logan Ott to a baseball scholarship. Not that the crafty and hard-throwing lefty isn’t worthy of a Division I scholarship, because he is. With its struggles, the football program might want to take a look at Ott as well.

“Maybe punter,” Ott said.

The do-it-all athlete started with a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown on the third play of the game. He then ended the half with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as after a 2-8 2017 season, Montoursville announced its resurgence with a 51-6 thrashing of North Penn-Mansfield on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

“We knew last year that we had a young team. We all trained during the offseason, lifted really hard and now we’re a year older. We’re back and hungry for more coming off a bad season,” Ott said. “We’re just really hungry for everybody.”

It took just three plays into the game for Montoursville to show it was another year older, another year smarter and another year better. Ott jumped a route on third and long and returned it 25 yards untouched for the touchdown.

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete. It doesn’t matter. We can put him anywhere. He’s really come into his own this year,” Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer said. “When you ask so much of these kids and you bring them up as ninth graders and tenth graders, and now it’s just clicking for him.”

Last night, Ott represented a vastly improved Montoursville team with his two big plays. Quarterback Hunter Shearer showed poise, accuracy and athleticism in the pocket while completing 9 of 10 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. The offensive line gave plenty of protection and opened up holes in the run game as the team rushed for 149 yards while averaging over four yards per carry. The defensive front seven received a boost from Cameron Wood, who made his varsity football debut after not playing since seventh grade.

“I recruited the heck out of our hallways. He’s a stud. He’s raw, other than what we’ve taught him in the last three weeks. He’s going to get even better and better, Keefer said of Wood, who had four tackles, including one for a loss, and two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage.

And the secondary, led by two stalwart safeties in Ott and Jaxon Dalena, closed all passing lanes down.

“He (Ott) knows the defense. He’s the quarterback of the defense and then Jaxon back there at safety. We were prepared,” Keefer said. “Our coaches did a heck of a job on the defensive side of the ball and we just have four guys back there in the secondary that really, really work well together and Logan is just a stud of an athlete. You put the ball up in the air, there’s a good chance he’s going to snag it.”

After Ott’s pick-6, Montoursville scored rushing touchdowns on two of its next three drives from Dylan Moll and Wood. Then after another NP-Mansfield three-and-out, Dylan Bennett came bursting through the line, as well as a herd of Warrior teammates, to block a punt that fell right into the lap of Logan Balouris, who returned it untouched for a 30 yard return and that rout was on for the Warriors at 27-0.

After NP-Mansfield put its only points up on the board with a four-yard run by Micah Kolb, who collected 60 yards on the drive on eight carries, Montoursville answered with another splash play, again from Ott.

The all-star pitcher took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards untouched as he showed off his speed.

“You kick it to him, there’s a good chance he’s going to take it back,” Keefer said. “That’s just the kind of player he is.”

It was another splash and momentum turning play that Montoursville had last night. In all, the Warriors blocked two punts, had a pick-6, returned a kickoff for touchdown and recovered a fumble.

“I don’t think the score was indicative of what was really going on in the trenches, if you will. It wasn’t like that. The ball did bounce our way. Some of it is because we have some playmakers but some of it did really bounce our way,” Keefer said. “We need to get better. We were not good enough tonight. We need to continue to improve if we’re going to compete with some of these teams down the stretch.”