The Funding Zone
 
Advertise Here!
December 9-11 2021 Scoreboard
 
 

Pulizzi and Dalena combine for 6 tds, Warriors rout Lewisburg

Written by: on Sunday, October 11th, 2020

 

Sam Carson barely noticed the cast protecting his broken left hand. And honestly, he did not care about the injury. He was playing again Friday night against Lewisburg and nothing else mattered.

The senior offensive lineman missed last week’s thrilling victory against Danville and that heartache hurt more than his hand. Back together with his fellow linemen, Carson helped control the action up front against Lewisburg and Montoursville collectively controlled all other aspects, too. The Warriors put together a dominant all-around performance, inflicting the mercy-rule by halftime and defeating Lewisburg, 45-7 at Memorial Stadium.

I’m happy to be back. I love to be out there, Carson said. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I had to sit out the Danville game and watch it. That was the game I was most nervous for because I couldn’t be out there to change anything.

Carson could and did make an impact last night. So did all his teammates as Montoursville (5-0, 5-0) captured a third straight HAC-II championship while building momentum for next week’s district final rematch against rival Loyalsock. The Warriors have won 12 straight HAC-II games, a streak which extends back to 2018.

Rocco Pulizzi ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns, Maddix Dalena threw for three scores and the defense wreaked havoc, producing three interceptions which set up short touchdown drives. The Warriors led 35-0 at halftime and all parts of their machine worked in harmony.

It was just a good all-around game, Montoursville coach J.C. Keefer said. So many things we work on came to fruition tonight and as a head coach that’s great to see all three phases of the game play like that.

Pulizzi became the first District 4 rusher to top 1,000 yards, reaching that milestone for a second straight year. The junior running back scored the game’s first two touchdowns before Montoursville went vertical and started putting the game away with a 21-point second quarter.

 

Dalena (5 of 7, 101 yards) found Dillon Young on consecutive series for 14 and 29-yard touchdowns which made it 28-0. Dalena then drove through the dagger in the half’s closing seconds. Montoursville was facing a fourth-and-17 from when Dalena threw a perfect 29-yard strike to Dylan Moll. Dalena split the double coverage, putting the ball in the only place it could go. Moll made an excellent catch and Montoursville had its 14th mercy-rule victim over the last two years.

 

It wasn’t just that Dalena threw the ball well last night. It was when he made his best throws. The first Young touchdown came on third-and-17 when Dalena stepped up in the pocket and lasered a pass that hit Young in stride for a 39-yard score. It was another step forward for the first-year starter and another reminder of why Montoursville can be so tough to stop.

Maddix has gotten a lot better over the offseason and in each game, Pulizzi said. Our passing game is just as good as last year in my opinion. It’s fun to watch.

He just didn’t give Moll a shot (on his third touchdown), he put it on the money and Dylan made a great catch. Maddix is improving every week and he’s a selfless kid, Keefer said. Whatever it takes to win the game is what he wants us to do. I’m proud of the quarterbacks we’ve had last the few years and Maddix is following in their footsteps for sure.

A surging offensive line continues emulating past outstanding Montoursville units as well. Carson, CJ Signor, Hunter Hanna, Thad Anderson and Lane Stutzman paved the way for an offense which scored on seven of its first eight possessions, including its first four. Fullback Heath Jones and tight end Dylan Bennett also provided excellent blocking and Pulizzi was barely touched on a 19-yard touchdown which capped Montoursville’s first possession.

The Warriors scored five touchdowns on just 17 first-half plays and topped 40 points for a fifth straight week. The line also cleared the way for a time-consuming 11-play, 79-yard scoring drive to open the second half as Pulizzi scored from two yards out and made it 42-0. Pulizzi’s nine-yard run on the previous play put him over 1,000 yards this season.

We love to see Rocco doing well. That’s our goal, Carson said. We love to give time to Maddix and see Rocco run. I was hoping for that (1,000 tonight and that’s good to hear.

And Keefer was happy to see how his team immediately attacked Lewisburg. Coming off a big win against Danville and playing Loyalsock next week, Lewisburg seemed like the perfect trap-game opponent. The Green Dragons (1-4) are a perennial playoff contender, who despite their record, remain dangerous and feature some exciting playmakers.

All week, Montoursville players listened as their coaches warned about a potential letdown. They then allayed their fears and quickly set the tone. After forcing a three-and-out on Lewisburg’s first possession, Moll returned the ensuing punt 38 yards to the Dragon 27-yard line. Two Pulizzi runs later, Montoursville had the lead. CJ Signor, Moll and Jones interceptions then created short fields which Montoursville converted into three more first-half touchdowns as it took control and never let up.

Keefer said it could have been a sports hangover after last week’s game. We made sure not to come out here and let up and look forward to Loyalsock next week, Pulizzi said.

We came out and put it to them.

Montoursville has forced 16 turnovers this season and returned four for touchdowns. While the Warriors did not directly score touchdowns off those interceptions last night, all played prominent roles because each one featured a lengthy return. Bennett’s pressure forced a hurried throw which Signor returned 33 yards to the Dragon 32, setting up the game’s third touchdown. Moll returned his pick 25 yards to the 25, setting up the next touchdown and Jones went 24 yards to the 30, giving the Warriors another short field which set up the Dalena to Moll touchdown.

The offensive numbers were not as eye-popping as in some other weeks, but that was only because the defense and special teams so frequently made that unit’s job a lot easier. Preparation met opportunity after Montoursville ran a scoop and score drill earlier in the week.

We have playmakers, so we don’t want to just fall on a fumble. The big guys we want to fall on it, but otherwise we want to go, Keefer said. Even 15-20 yards puts us in a better position. When you intercept the ball there better be 10 other guys flying down the field to block. Those are things we’re emphasizing and preaching and you saw it tonight.

Max Moyers ran for 74 yards in defeat and sophomore Cam Michaels continued his breakout season. Michaels made a brilliant one-handed, second-quarter interception before making a nice adjustment on an Ethan Dominick pass and scoring a 39-yard third-quarter touchdown. Michaels has scored seven touchdowns the past four weeks and, despite the defeat, Lewisburg still has a shot at reaching the four-team District 4 Class AAAA playoff field as it seeks a 13th straight postseason appearance.

Follow PA Football News on Twitter @PaFootballNews