NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus took over the Montour football program in 2005 and instilled discipline and drive to not only the football team but the community as well. Butkus turned around their losing attitude and laid the groundwork for a championship program.
Before Butkus turned the program over to Coach Lou Cerro in 2006, ESPN and Reebok supplied uniforms, Numex donated modern weight-training equipment and Energizer gave a new scoreboard and built a new locker room.
|ON THE ATTACK—West Mifflin QB Jordan McClung threw for one touchdown in the Titans 21-13 loss.
But the final piece of the puzzle was when North Catholic transfer Julian “Batman” Durden, who got his nickname because actor Michael Keaton is a Montour graduate, stepped on the field for the first time in September. The junior running back transferred to Montour after spending the previous two years at North Catholic. He is a division one recruit and has received letters from Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia.
Considered by some to be one of the best high school players in the WPIAL, Durden has rushed for more than 1,600 yards this season. Montour (10-0) must have thought it was March Madness when No. 16 seed West Mifflin (4-6) had them on the ropes last Friday night at Thomas J. Cirko Memorial Stadium for most of the game. The Spartans were lucky to advance with a 21-13 victory.
West Mifflin scored first on a 4-yard run by Shamar Green early in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
The Spartans had ridden the coattails of Durden, who had been lighting things up for the black and gold all season. But, the Titans totally shut him and the running game down and most of the life was sucked out of Montour‘s offense.
But in the second quarter, West Mifflin’s dreams of a possible WPIAL championship came crashing to a halt. Offensively, while West Mifflin was bent on shutting down “Batman” Durden pretty much all game long, Montour countered with an almost West Coast style passing attack, using screen passes and quick hitters to negate West Mifflin’s lethal defensive front seven. 6’3 star junior wide-receiver Devin Wilson began to take over the game.
Quarterback Dillon Buechel hit receiver Darren Massey for a 12-yard touchdown pass right before halftime to even the score at 7-7. West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo was asked if he was happy heading into halftime tied 7-to-7.
“No we wanted to be up by 42 points,” said Braszo. “I know Ray (Cerro) and he is a great coach. I knew he would make halftime adjustments.”
In the third quarter a Buechel to Wilson touchdown pass gave the Spartans their first lead of the game 14-7. Buechel was 16 of 22 passing for 205 yards and threw for two touchdowns. Durden scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 21-7 and the return of the Titans cut the lead to 21-13 when Jamir Adams caught a
11-yard touchdown pass from Jordan McClung to cut the lead to 21-13.
The Spartans defense had to awaken late in the fourth quarter from a scare from a capable Titans team that is loaded with playmakers from the Duquesne area. West Mifflin was driving with 2:00 remaining in the game but got stuffed by the Montour defense.
The difference in the game was the Spartans swarming warrior style defense, a unit that must have had Julius Caesar applauding somewhere.
“Our football team is going to win states this year,” said sophomore volleyball star Tristan Day. “And our volleyball team is going to win states next year. Montour is the home of the champions.”
With alumna Michael Keaton, John Hufnagel, Ted Kwalick, Chuck Burkhart, Dick Butkus and Julius Caesar behind Montour, maybe this is the year of the Spartans.