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Written by: Chris Masse sungazette.com/ on Sunday, October 11th, 2020
SOUTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP — Just four plays into the game Montgomery wide receiver Maurice Walters shed two would-be tacklers, turning an apparent short gain into a 12-yard third-down conversion. A series later Ben Marino dragged three defenders an extra 10 yards, setting up another touchdown. Devon Deem soon joined in, getting hit behind the line of scrimmage before breaking loose and gaining 13 yards.
You get the idea.
No matter who is touching the football, every Red Raider is fighting for every inch. For that matter, whoever is not touching the football is producing maximum effort on each play, too. That drive has been there all season and determination met talent and preparation Saturday afternoon. Montgomery dominated all facets at Wen Cerra Memorial Field and thumped CMVT, 48-14. Kaide Drick ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns, Deem collected three sacks and both the offensive and defensive lines shined as the Red Raiders (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak and offered a glimpse of what might be coming.
“We keep trying to come out and play 100 percent,” Drick said. “Don’t let one person bring you down, that’s what everyone’s mentality is.”
“It’s the next person up mentality, too. We have quite a few people out and it’s great seeing other kids step up,” Deem said. “We’re putting in extra time, staying after practices and it’s all-around a great team.”
Montgomery certainly looked like it yesterday. The Raiders built a 34-0 halftime lead and the starters outgained CMVT, 349-61. The starting defense did not allow a point, the starting offense scored on all six possessions and Montgomery led 48-6 early in the third quarter, scoring on three consecutive plays between the second and third quarters.
The Raiders played Northwest, South Williamsport and Muncy tough the past three weeks, but lacked consistency. Montgomery played some strong quarters in each game, but it delivered a complete and well-rounded performance against CMVT.
“My challenge to these boys was get in rhythm early, make good tackles on defense and play 48 minutes of football and I thought they definitely played 48 minutes of football this week. It was great to see,” Montgomery coach Paul Bozella said. “I’m proud of these guys for the effort they had all game long today.”
“This definitely gave us a lot of confidence going forward. The last three games we kind of started slow, but this game I think we kind of showed more of what we can do as a team,” Drick said. “I feel like if we play all four quarters the way we did this game we should be good.”
Montgomery reversed course from the last few weeks and immediately jumped on CMVT, building a 20-0 less less than 10 minutes into the game. The Raiders displayed excellent balance and the starters averaged 12 yards per play in their 2 1/2 quarters, producing six touchdowns and 13 first downs on 29 plays. While Drick topped 100 yards for a third time, quarterback Logan Almeida connected on each of his last eight passes, going 9 of 11 for 124 yards.
It all started up front with linemen Thayden Miller, Brent and Bradley Leon, Gaven Strouse, Gage Mebane and Gabe Wright consistently opening big holes and watching the skill players run as hard as they blocked. Miller moved to center, Strouse to tackle and Wright made his season debut. Despite all the moves, the line appeared in perfect harmony and Almeida conducted an offense which hit all the right notes.
Almeida and Drick combined for three first-quarter rushing touchdowns before Maurice Walters flashed his game-breaking ability and returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Colby Springman capped the 34-point first half when he capped an eight-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
“I absolutely love this o-line. They’re so adaptable. They mix and match and play together very well,” Bozella said. “I’m just trying to channel to these boys to have this same mindset every game and use this as a springboard so we can finish the season strong and let the chips fall where they may and see what happens as far as playoffs.”
Montgomery wasted no time putting the game away in the third quarter. The Raiders produced two touchdowns and 135 yards on their first two plays, reaching 48 points less than four minutes into the third quarter. Almeida threw a perfectly-placed 35-yard touchdown to Coltin Hans on the first play and Drick ran through and around defenders on a highlight-reel 68-yard touchdown a series later. Hans caught his third touchdown in two games and the starters have produced 62 points over their last 3 1/2 quarters.
While the offense opened up, the defense snuffed out everything CMVT tried. The starters surrendered just 61 yards on 30 plays, frequently bottling up runners near or behind the line of scrimmage. The defensive line was outstanding, clogging running lanes, pushing blockers off and either finishing plays or freeing linebackers to do so. Deem and Marino perfectly set the edge and CMVT could neither run outside, nor inside.
Deem took over in the third quarter, speeding by linemen and delivering three sacks on five plays. Miller helped ignite the deep defensive line, Marino set the first-half tone and Logan Pick anchored a strong secondary, breaking up a pass and recovering a fumble.
“The main thing was sticking with who we are,” Deem said. “It was just straight up football and was who was tougher, basically.”
Walters showed his toughness on that early third-and-9 conversion, fighting his way for 11 downs and setting the stage for Almeida’s 1-yard touchdown. He then unleashed his speed in the second quarter, backing up to field a punt at the 33-yard line. After shedding a tackle as he started going upfield, Walters cut toward daylight and went 67 yards untouched down the right sideline for his touchdown.
It was not the easiest punt to field, but Montgomery does not run from a challenge. These Raiders are embracing the opportunities and turning fight into production.
“Maurice is the playmaker. One of those little fast screens we do, we challenge him every time that it could be 6,ã Bozella said. “Last year we were kind of hesitant about catching balls on punts and this year he has risen to the challenge and I love watching him run.”
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