Montoursville rolls to a victory

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Hughesville quarterback Ethan Snyder is sacked by Montoursville’s Cameron Wood as Hughesville’s Evan Stutzman tries to defend in the second quarter at Montoursville on Friday.

After a possession each from Montoursville and Hughesville, most fans might’ve thought they were in for a defensive Friday night battle between the two. Montoursville turned an opening three and out after opting to receive the opening kickoff into a 42-0 shutout victory over Hughesville.

“A good coach once told me, ‘it’s never as good as what you think, it’s never as bad as what you think.’ We’ll go back and watch some film and see. We’ll definitely have some things to clean up. We’re not quite where we need to be to be honest, but we’re getting there.” Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer said.

Montoursville turned the ball over one time and had a few mental gaffes, but the Warriors already matched their win total from 2017. This youthful Montoursville team is littered with athletic ability and depth.

With eight minutes left in the first quarter and on its own 10 yard line Montoursville began a 90 yard drive that included a 4th-and-1 situation that erupted into a 27 yard gain for Cole Ranck. The next play Dylan Moll took a handoff 10 yards to the pylon and Montoursville never looked back. The Warriors running game was balanced Friday night with five different running backs or full backs finding the endzone.

“The depth enables us. Three of our guys are all starting on defense, so whoever needs a blow, and they never need a blow or so they say. If we have a guy that has a 15-plus yard run, he’s out and a new guy is in. It keeps us fresh. Even at fullback, in Ranck, Wood, & Signor, we’ve never had that kind of depth at running back period.” Keefer said of his monstrous backfield.

Hughesville never backed down and made a few timely defensive stops but with injuries plaguing the offense it simply wasn’t nearly enough. Last week Hughesville lost starting quarterback Jacob Corson & starting offensive lineman Zane Gee.

“We cant use any injury as an excuse. Yes, we had a couple kids go down last week but we can’t use that as an excuse. We prepared our kids the best we could, and they gave it all they could. Tonight they were out here helping our QB and helping the guys through all that pregame,” Hughesville coach Adam Gehr said of the veteran injuries. “Zane has nothing but positive attitude. He said it’s actually fun to be a coach. I told him I’d rather have him playing. Those two guys are very positive around the team right now. It’s tough for any team to recover from. We have to work on our passing game to be better”

Hughesville was not able to complete a pass Friday evening, with a degree of respect needing to be paid to the two way starters Dylan Moll and Logan Ott who both came up big for Montoursville, forcing a turnover each while the game was still in reach. Montoursville’s defensive line was all over the field stuffing the Hughesville running backs for either no gain or negative yards 16 times.

“I was more upset with the little mistakes we had, we were able to have some success on the ground tonight then we’d kill ourselves with penalties. Just stuff we have to keep trying to improve on in that area.” Gehr said.

Hunter Shearer looked calm and unbothered even in the face of a pass rush Friday night and ended the evening 7 for 11 with 105 yards and a passing touchdown. Montoursville forced three turnovers in pivotal moments all while the game was still in reach for Hughesville. Another promising takeaway for the Warriors was the chance to get out ahead and get starters rest early in the second half. The Montoursville reserves came into the game unintimidated against regular varsity starters and were able to move the ball fairly well in the second half.

“We came out the same as last week fired up. Give the credit to the line for blocking and making great holes for us, we just had to run straight down the field, we all got a touchdown, it was a great night for all of us.” Montoursville’s Logan Ott said of his backfields performance following the victory.

When asked about any final thoughts on his team’s performance Keefer was back to business as quickly as Friday nights game was over saying, “We’re gonna run into some teams in the next few weeks that are going to test our physicality, and we have to play better. We’ve gotta have a better week of practice.”