By: Chris Masse | Williamsport Sun-Gazette | November 15, 2008
ATHENS - The demolition was complete, but no celebration ensued. Montoursville had just steamrolled Athens, 42-7 in the District 4 Class AA semifinals Friday night but one could hardly tell by looking at the players' faces. Few Warriors smiled as they exited the post-game handshake line, and they looked more business-like than ecstatic.
Then again, this is Montoursville football and reaching a district championship has become the norm. The Warriors (10-2) earned a spot in next week's final by dominating Athens in every facet. Now Montoursville will try winning its third title in four years when it travels to Mount Carmel in an eagerly-anticipated championship.
"Early in the season we expected to be here, but once we got into the season we had that Week 2 loss to Southern Columbia and we looked at ourselves and said we have to go game by game by game," said Montoursville fullback/linebacker Pat McNamara, who scored a touchdown and had a sack. "By no means did we look past this game. We knew we had to come in here and we knew we had to fight and that's exactly what we did."
Cody Haupt and Josh Cillo both topped 100 yards rushing, combining for 293 yards and four touchdowns as Montoursville's offensive line overwhelmed the Wildcats (10-2). The Warriors (10-2) snapped Athens' eight-game winning streak, became the first team to win a district game at Athens this decade, and opened a 28-0 halftime lead.
Montoursville scored on its first four first-half possessions. The only time it did not score on possessions during the first three quarters was when a last-minute second-quarter drive resulted in a missed field goal. The Warriors ran for 398 yards and quarterback Travis Singer had 74 of his 79 in the first half while scoring the game's first touchdown.
"As the game went on they were getting frustrated. It was great. It got easier as it went on," said senior tackle Tony Cascio, who helped Montoursville erase the sting of an overtime loss in last year's semifinals. "Last year we didn't make it and that was a heart-breaker. I wanted to make it the last year I'm here so this is a big deal."
A young Montoursville team lost 24-7 at Athens in the 2004 semifinals but one drive was all it took this year's group to show history would not repeat itself. The Warriors, who made a two-hour trip North, took the game's opening drive 80 yards on 14 straight runs, as the line surged and the backs gained extra yards by breaking tackles.
Singer capped the time-consuming drive with a one yard touchdown and, following an Athens three-and-out, Montoursville scored again on a Cillo 10 yard touchdown run that symbolized the difference Friday. Cillo was stopped at the five-yard line, but bounced off a tackler, spinning away for the final five yards on a 10 yard touchdown run.
"We just kept putting the ball in and putting the ball in," said McNamara, who scored on a two yard run early in the second quarter, making it 21-0. "When you come out like that and you can shut a team up that's what Montoursville football is about."
The defense was just as impressive, stifling a potent offense led by dynamic quarterback Shane Raupers. By the time most of Montourvsille's defensive starters came out early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors led 42-0 and had outgained Athens, 390-64.
McNamara set the second-half tone, sacking Raupers on the first play. The four-year starter was held to 85 yards of offense and Montoursville limited Athens to minus-2 third quarter yards.
"It's all about attitude," Montoursville coach Jim Bergen said. "We have a great group of seniors who have set a great example and it carries over on the field."
Senior linebacker Zach Kreamer helped lead the way, making several tackles and setting up Montoursville's third touchdown by recovering a fumble. Wes Smith also played well, making four first-half tackles and adding a sack.
Montoursville and Mount Carmel will be meeting in the playoffs for a second straight year. The Warriors blanked Mount Carmel, 3-0 in last year's quarterfinals.