Week 2 football: Northwest at Montgomery
Northwest PPG–36, PPA–6; YPG–456, YPA–152
Northwest facts: The Rangers defeated Montgomery, 32-7 in last year’s Class A Eastern Conference championship and also beat state finalist Lackawanna Trail in its opener a year ago. Northwest features a smash-mouth offense and ran the ball at will in both last year’s title victory and last Saturday’s 36-6 win at CMVT. The Rangers produced 378 rushing yards and, coming off a 1,300-yard season, George May led the way. May ran for 178 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries while Derek Dietz and Carter Hontz ripped off runs of 72 and 59 yards. Quarterback Ryan Wassel started last season and completed 3 of 4 passes for 54 yards while also running for 30 yards on four attempts. Northwest shook off a slow start against CMVT and built a 30-0 fourth-quarter lead. Jake Shotwell ran for 116 yards against Northwest, but did so on 30 carries.
Northwest player to watch–George May: Chances are Montgomery will be seeing a player who gouged it last year early and often tonight and slowing him will be key.
Montgomery PPG–43, PPA–15; YPG–366, YPA–181
Montgomery facts: For the first time since 2014, Montgomery is coming off a season-opening win and is now seeking its first 2-0 start since 2001. The Raiders return most of their starters from last year and looked strong in a season-opening win at Bucktail when they built a 36-0 first-half lead. A new-look offense was explosive with Logan Almeida throwing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Four receivers caught at least three passes with Ben Marino and Coltin Hans producing long touchdowns. Montgomery ran well also with Kaide Drick compiling 106 yards and two touchdowns. Drick ran for 966 yards last year and Almeida went over 1,000 passing yards in his first year starting. Bradley Leon ignited a swarming defensive effort and made 12 of his career-high 14 tackles in the first half. Evan Strausbaugh was all over the field in the first half as well, finishing with 11 tackles while Devon Deem added nine and cornerback Logan Pick made five of his seven tackles in the second half.
Montgomery player to watch–Thayden Miller: One of several linemen back from a year ago, Miller played a crucial role on both sides of the ball. He was part of an offensive line which controlled the action and also played one of his best defensive games. Miller made a career-high 12 tackles and helped slow a dangerous Bucktail running game.
Outlook: This is an intriguing early-season matchup between teams that are now Northern Tier League rivals. Expect a much closer game than last November as well as a contrast in styles.