Montour, West A. meet with Parkway in balance
One offense rotated three quarterbacks and the other has featured four rushers.
Montour and West Allegheny certainly have differed in their approach, but each has found offensive success this season in their own way. As these teams have proven, the touchdowns count the same, whether they're 50-yard passes or 50-yard runs.
It's just that Montour has scored a few more, and with a little more flair.
“You tip your hat to them because they're fun to watch,” said West Allegheny coach Bob Palko, whose No. 6-ranked Indians visit No. 1 Montour on Friday night with the Parkway Conference title in the balance.
Montour (7-0, 6-0) would clinch the conference crown with a victory, giving the Spartans head-to-head tiebreakers over West Allegheny (6-1, 5-1) and Central Valley (6-1, 6-1). However, a West Allegheny victory could lead to a three-way tie atop the standings and a shuffling of the WPIAL playoff seeds.
“It's a huge challenge for us,” Palko said, “and it's a chance for us to see where we're at. They're the measuring stick right now, them and Central Valley.”
This also could be a test of contrasting styles. While West Allegheny chooses to run first, Montour prefers to pass. However, both use wildcat formations, at times.
Led by wideout Devin Wilson, Montour has averaged 38.7 points, most in Class AAA. The senior scored four touchdowns in last week's 40-35 victory over Blackhawk, including two touchdown runs (7 and 16 yards) and two catches (both 22 yards from quarterback Ryan Mihelcic).
Wilson leads Montour in rushing (442) and receiving (651) yards. The Division I recruit is tied for second in the WPIAL with 41 catches and has scored 13 touchdowns.
“He's really upped his game,” Palko said. “He's an extremely talented young man. He's got great ball skills. He's got great field vision. He's the total package.”
West Allegheny's run game has been game-changing, too. A week ago, the Indians had 55-yard touchdown runs by Tory Delmonico and Chayse Dillon in a 14-0 victory over New Castle. The Indians have three rushers with at least 400 yards, and a fourth who's just about there. They have 1,656 rushing yards and just 581 passing.
“We've have to stop their running attack,” Montour coach Lou Cerro said. “We have to win first down and try to get them into some longer passing situations. ... They like getting those third-and-1s or third-and-2s and grind it out.”
Delmonico, a junior who plays wildcat quarterback, leads with 479 yards and six touchdowns. Dillon, a junior, has 433 yards. Sophomore Armand Dellovade has 439 yards. Senior Nick Halbedl, who tore his ACL a season ago, has 338 yards.
The multiple-option attack wasn't so much by design, Palko said. But all four have been productive, so the Indians chose to use them all. It also takes some pressure off sophomore quarterback Andrew Koester, who has passed for just 581 yards.
“Each one of them brings their flavor to things, their own talents,” Palko said. “It's a long season, so we try to get each one of these kids involved.”
Montour has used its own rotation. The Spartans began the season using three quarterbacks but have since reduced the rotation to Mihelcic and junior Tynen Greer.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.