Junior RB sparks Central Valley past Montour
Believing his team needed a spark, Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead provided a powerful one.
Whitehead scored two touchdowns in Friday night's 38-0 victory over Parkway Conference host Montour, his first being a weaving punt return on the game's fourth play.
From the junior's perspective, that spark was all his Warriors needed.
“Everybody was talking and getting hyped (last week),” Whitehead said. “This time we were relaxed before the game, not really talking. ... When I scored that (punt return), on the sideline it seemed like everybody was enthusiastic and into the game.”
The touchdown even excited him. Whitehead rushed for 104 yards on 13 carries, including a 1-yard score. Another long punt return by Whitehead, a 33-yarder, led to JaQuan Pennington's 1-yard touchdown run.
“We're always looking for a spark, and right now he's providing it,” Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said.
The victory over No. 8 Montour (1-1, 1-1) keeps No. 3 Central Valley (2-0, 2-0) atop the Parkway Conference.
Though just four years old, this series has become a rivalry thanks to a few marquee matchups. Montour won last year 28-27, and the four previous matchups were decided by 7, 11, 17 and 5 points.
But this game was never that close.
Montour played without senior quarterback Tynen Greer, who was ejected from last week's game for actions after the whistle. With his backup also sidelined, sophomore Randall Labrie completed just 3 of 11 passes with two interceptions.
The Spartans missed their starting quarterback. That included tailback Cole Macek, who had little room to run. In the first half, the senior had 6 yards on 11 carries. Nine attempts gained 1 yard or less. He finished with 15 yards.
“We tried to dumb things down this week,” Montour coach Lou Cerro said, “but they're well coached and the did what they had to do to beat us.”
Montour's defense forced two turnovers on interceptions by Macek and Anthony Brandy, but neither led to points. As a team, the Spartans rushed for 69 yards on 27 carries and had only 140 yards.
“The score wasn't real indicative of it, but I thought out defense played decently at times,” Cerro said.
The scoring started when Whitehead carried a punt 61 yards for a touchdown. His weaving return put Central Valley ahead 7-0 with 9:33 left in the first quarter. Whitehead and Pennington added 1-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter to lead 21-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, a 17-yard touchdown catch by Preston Johnson and a 31-yard field goal by Brody Churovia stretched Central Valley's total to 31 points. Zemarr Jeter added a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth.
“When you go in someone's backyard in the Parkway and get a (win), I don't care if it's by two or by 30,” Lyons said. “We'll take them.”