West Allegheny knocks off No. 1 Montour
Like morning rush hour in the rain, there's suddenly congestion in the Parkway.
West Allegheny's Evan Pelcher made a 22-yard field goal with 58 seconds left in Friday night's 5-3 victory over top-ranked Montour at Birko Stadium, giving the Spartans their first loss. Pending results next week, the outcome could yield a three-way tie atop the Class AAA conference's standings.
No. 6 West Allegheny (7-1, 6-1), No. 1 Montour (7-1, 6-1) and No. 2 Central Valley (7-1, 7-1) each have one loss. Since Central Valley has beaten West Allegheny and Montour has beaten Central Valley, head-to-head tiebreakers are moot.
West Allegheny's offense was stagnant until wildcat quarterback Tory Delmonico led the Indians on an 11-play scoring drive, which included 10 runs. Delmonico had 31 of his 120 rushing yards on the possession.
Passing had netted the Indians just 1 yard on 12 attempts, so they had no choice but to rely on a diverse running game that has been their strength this season.
“We realized we couldn't really pass the ball,” said Delmonico, who had negative yardage passing, “so we just relied on the run. We had an attitude on that last drive.”
The winning drive, which started at West Allegheny's 44-yard line with 6:10 left, reached Montour's 10.
Facing fourth-and-1, the Indians turned to Pelcher rather than go for the first down. Despite a rain-soaked artificial surface, Pelcher made the kick.
Montour had 58 seconds to answer but moved just 14 yards in nine plays. The drive ended with three straight incompletions by Ryan Mihelcic, who was 8 of 22 passes for 127 yards.
Neither offense reached 200 yards. West Allegheny had 133, including 132 rushing on 31 carries. Montour had 190 total yards, including 103 receiving on five catches by Devin Wilson. But West Allegheny slowed the standout senior, whose longest reception was 35 yards. Led by lineman Dustin Windemaker's three sacks, the Indians hurried Montour's quarterbacks into incompletions.
“The two defenses played well tonight,” Montour coach Lou Cerro said, “and we made a few more mistakes than they did. We couldn't get any continuity on offense, but that's because West Allegheny put us in those situations.”
A 42-yard field goal by Nate Dearth gave Montour a 3-0 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter. The kick capped a 10-play drive that began at Montour's 45-yard line.
West Allegheny's safety came in the third quarter. Montour quarterback Tynen Greer was stripped of the ball near his goal line, and it bounced into end zone. Montour recovered it, preventing a West Allegheny touchdown.
Montour hosts Moon in Week 9, and West Allegheny visits Chartiers Valley. Central Valley, which has finished conference play, faces Class AA Beaver Falls.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.