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Written by: Chris Masse sungazette.com/ on Friday, September 27th, 2019
MONTGOMERY — Linebacker Kade Showers blew up first-half plays like a mad scientist toying with unknown materials. So Pottsville Nativity did all it could throughout Thursday night’s second half to avoid the Montgomery senior.
One problem: This defense is not a one-man show. It is becoming an outstanding team defense and Montgomery proved that over and over and over again last night. This was an effort as complete as it was dominant.
Montgomery surrendered just 173 yards, constantly slammed the door when Nativity had quality chances and dropped the hammer in the fourth quarter as it won its second straight game, 14-3. Showers had a sack and four tackles for loss, Steven Prince intercepted a pass and every defender made his presence felt as this young and developing team put itself firmly back into the District 4 Class A playoff picture.
“The defense plays well all together. There isn’t one standout individual. It’s more us working together so well and that shows,” Showers said. “That’s the best way I can put it. We all just work well together.”
“Whatever happened in those first few games I knew our defense was better than that,” Montgomery coach Paul Bozella said. “We scouted this team and they are no slouch. They put up nearly 30 points on Mahanoy and that was a big team. For us to hold them to three points is a tremendous testament to who we can become.”
Montgomery’s Kaide Drick breaks a tackle against Pottsville Nativity in the second quarter Thursday at Montgomery.
Montgomery (2-4) scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters, taking a 14-0 lead that the defense made feel like a 40-point advantage. Kaide Drick ran for 108 yards and a touchdown, Colby Springman added 82 and Logan Almeida threw a beautiful 23-yard touchdown to Maurice Walters.
Still, this win was all about a surging defense. The Raiders have made enormous strides the last two weeks and the starters have surrendered just 10 points. Why was evident against a Nativity team that had scored 27 or more points in three straight games.
The defensive line surged up front, the linebackers cut off running lanes and the secondary covered receivers like a blanket. Jacob Huffman went over 200 yards against Shenandoah Valley last week and athletic quarterback Cody Miller consistently has riddled defenses with his outside running. Montgomery held those two dynamic athletes to 86 yards on 26 attempts and Miller was constantly under fire when he rolled out and tried passing.
Showers and fellow outside linebacker Devon Deem excelled in keeping Miller contained and the other players swarmed, forcing Nativity to rely on the pass throughout the second half. Nativity was held to one yard or fewer on 16 of its 30 runs and Prince, Drick, Walters and Logan Pick had Miller mostly seeing Montgomery red when he tried throwing downfield.
“Our defensive coordinator rotates our linemen well and they stayed fresh and played really well,” Bozella said. “I would put our four defensive backs against anyone in the league. They did a phenomenal job today. That quarterback couldn’t pass against them.”
The combination of a slick field and a wet football played a role in Montgomery fumbling on consecutive second-half possessions. Still, it did not matter. The defense forced three-and-outs each time. Nativity put together its best drive opening the third quarter, but Prince ended that when he recovered a fumble at the Montgomery 15 and returned it 54 yards. Evan Strausbaugh hurried Miller on a key fourth-quarter play and Prince intercepted a pass.
Nativity had one last chance with four minutes remaining, but Thayden Miller hurried Miller and he had nowhere to throw as his fourth-down pass at the Raider 47-yard line fell incomplete. Whatever the situation, Montgomery embraced the challenge and delivered. Its performance was equaled by its strong mindset.
“As the game went on we realized we had to stop the run a lot and we knew we couldn’t get in our heads because as soon as we get in our heads things could go downhill,” Prince said. “We had to keep playing it a play at a time and the defense was really looking good tonight.”
“If we have a turnover or anything like that, as a defense, we’re going to clean it up,” Showers said. “We’re not going to let anything happen after that.”
Montgomery scored on two if its first four possessions as senior leader Alex Hans and fellow linemen Miller, Bradley Leon, Brent Leon and Gabe Wright set a physical tone. The Raiders skillfully mixed plays and went 84 yards on eight plays with Walters making a fantastic third-down catch and scoring the game’s first touchdown two plays later. Springman’s 54-yard run up the middle set up Drick for a seven-yard touchdown run two plays later as Montgomery went up, 14-0.
Almeida, a sophomore, is growing into a leader and Coltin Hans made an impressive 13-yard catch that ignited the second scoring drive. Montgomery went back to the power running game to clinch the win late. After Nativity took its final timeout, Springman gained six yards on a fourth-and-4 as Montgomery fans started celebrating both a big win and a giant step forward.
The Raiders are one of the area’s youngest teams, but are making rapid progress and looking dangerous heading down the stretch.
“I think after that first win we’re starting to get into a groove. We’re having more confidence in ourselves,” Prince said. “We’re playing a lot more like a team than we were before and that’s helping us to strive to what we know what we can do.”
Pottsville Nativity 3
Nativity 0 3 0 0–3
Montgomery 7 7 0 0–14
M–Maurice Walters 23 pass from Logan Almeida (Gabe McNear kick), 2:51
M–Kaide Drick 7 run (McNear kick), 8:08
N–Joao Lovisi 25-yard field goal, 0:00
First downs 10 14
Rushes-yards 30-93 38-195
Passing yards 80 57
Total yards 173 252
Comp-Att-Int 7-23-1 4-10-1
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-3
Penalties-yards 8-90 7-65
RUSHING: Nativity, Jacob Huffman 15-49; Cody Miller 12-37; Jared Yoder 2-6; Jake Fehrat 1-1. Montgomery, Kaide Drick 17-108, TD; Colby Springman 12-82; Kade Showers 4-22; Devon Deem 1-2; Team 1-(-3); Logan Almeida 3-(16).
PASSING: Nativity, Miller 7-23-1, 80 yards. Montgomery, Almeida 4-10-1, 57 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Nativity, Keegan Brennan 2-37; Fehrat 2-13; Steven Spolski 1-18; Tyler Wagner 1-6; Julius Walborn 1-6. Montgomery, Maurice Walters 2-35, TD; Coltin Hans 1-13; Steven Prince 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS: Nativity, Spolski 1. Montgomery, Prince 1.
SACKS: Montgomery, Showers 1.
RECORDS: Montgomery (2-4), Nativity (2-4)
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