Warriors cruise past Defenders
Montoursville and Warrior Run are no strangers to each other. They faced off earlier this year at Montoursville as the Warriors went on to win by three TDs.
Jaxon Dalena was in a boot and not playing that game. This time around, he was good to go and added multiple scores in a 54-12 rout of Warrior Run in the District 4 Class AAA semifinals.
With the win, the Warriors advance to play rival Loyalsock for the championship.
Montoursville wasted no time in getting on the board as a heavy dose of running plays of Rocco Pulizzi, Logan Ott and Jacob Reeder led to a five-yard pass from Hunter Shearer to Dalena. Dalena would go on later to score on a handoff and play lockdown defense.
Montoursville came out running the ball very hard and was churning out huge yards on carries early. It did not matter whether it be Pulizzi, Ott or Dalena running the ball, they all were getting the job done.
“It all starts up front on both sides of the ball,” Montoursville coach J.C Keefer said. “We just rotate those guys in and out at running back and those guys grind it out.”
Montoursville totaled over 300 yards on the ground against a very solid Warrior Run defense. Hunter Shearer also played well during the time he was in the game. He threw for two touchdowns, but the keys were handed over to the offense to sophomore quarterback Maddix Dalena.
Dalena started off missing a couple targets, but once he got settled, he was throwing a very good ball and finding his receivers throughout the night.
“We were trying to get some work for my young quarterback in the second half. It’s all about a program and building kids and making them better for the future,” Keefer said. “We wanted to start it out with some short passes and once he got settled in we stretched it out because he has a phenomenal arm he is a great talent who is going to be a phenomenal quarterback and is a great athlete.”
While the offense was shining all night the defense was doing their job as well. They held Warrior Run scoreless until the third quarter when Remington Corderman escaped the pocket and ran for a touchdown.
Cameron Wood was all over, finishing with three sacks. Dylan Moll also had an interception that he took back for a touchdown in the closing minutes. As a group up front, they were about as good as it was going to get.
“We had a lot of energy tonight. I was really proud of the way our guys came out and got after it. We had a little axe to grind as the guys would call it. We did not preform really well the first time we played them so they has a little bit of a chip on our shoulder because of that and I feel like they just came out and got right after that,” Keefer said. “Our front four has been real solid all year. We rotate six or seven guys in there to keep them fresh and they really dictate our defensive success and they have been doing it all year.”
The special teams have been a big part of Montoursville’s success. Ian Plankenhorn and Colin Gorini both have had a special season and really are a luxury that not many teams have.
“I think they are both all-state caliber kids. Whenever we get inside the 35, I feel confident we can score points and that makes play calling a little more loose knowing you can score when you get down in there,” Keefer said.
As for Warrior Run, that shuts the door on a remarkable season. Wide reciever Riley Daubert reached a milestone as he caught a pass late in the fourth that set him over 1,000 yards for the season. Daubert has been a three-year letterwinner for the Defenders. Ahmahd Keyes also made a fantastic touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone from Corderman. The seniors will definitely be missed from Warrior Run and they can know that they accomplished more than any other team during their time there.
Montoursville is not finished yet as it is set for a rematch in the district title game against Loyalsock. The Warriors are going to put in a solid week of work and if they come out the same way they did Friday, then it should be quite the battle between the district’s two best teams.