New Castle uses big plays to rout Montour, 32-13
Montour football coach Lou Cerro made it crystal clear what his team needed to limit during Friday's Class AAA Parkway Conference game against New Castle: the big play.
It didn't happen.
New Castle got several big plays from quarterback Julian Cox and wide receiver Malik Hooker, picking up chunks of yards quickly, as the Red Hurricanes rolled to a 32-13 victory at Thomas J. Birko Memorial Stadium.
New Castle had five pass plays covering at least 20 yards, three of them touchdowns.
“This week at practice, all we talked about was using our speed,” said Cox, who threw for 217 yards and four touchdowns. “We know that we have a lot of athletes. We know that we can make big plays.”
Cox completed 10 of 11 passes and added a 14-yard scoring run late. Five of those completions went to Hooker, who had 123 receiving yards and two scores. Tight end Stew Allen caught a pair of touchdown passes.
“That's just us out there wanting it more,” Hooker said of his team's big-play ability.
Tynen Greer led Montour with 115 rushing yards on 13 carries. He ran for a pair of touchdowns, including a 1-yarder to cap a 74-yard drive that gave Montour a glimmer of hope late in the third quarter.
But Montour couldn't score on any of its remaining second-half possessions, and New Castle ate up clock with the running of Tevin McCaster (58 yards).
The win helped New Castle (3-1, 2-1) remain in contention for third place in the Parkway Conference with games the next two weeks against Chartiers Valley and at Blackhawk.
Montour (2-2, 1-2) was looking to establish some momentum coming off last week's one-point win over Mohawk, but the Spartans had no answer for the Red Hurricanes' passing game.
“They played to their strengths,” Cerro said. “That's why they beat us.”
Montour drove 79 yards on 10 plays in 4 minutes, 32 seconds to open the game. The Spartans converted twice on third down before Greer scored on a 4-yard run.
Spartans running back Cole Macek had 29 yards on the drive and 83 for the game.
New Castle answered with a 46-yard pass play from Cox to Hooker on a crossing route. The Hurricanes surged ahead with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Cox to Allen.
After New Castle stopped Montour on fourth down, Cox found Hooker again — this time for a 22-yard touchdown that Hooker, an outstanding basketball player, hauled in like a rebound in the corner of the end zone.
“That's one of those plays where, if you coach the quarterback position, you say, ‘Never throw it late to the back of the end zone' ” New Castle coach Joe Cowart said. “It was something you never want to see, but in my opinion, that was the best decision he made all night.
“You have one of the best athletes on the field one-on-one in the corner. Give him a shot.”
With the playmakers New Castle featured Friday, it's a perfectly reasonable strategy.