Montour expects to drive far in Class 4A Parkway Conference

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Friday, August 11, 2023 | 11:21 PM


In high school football, having a three-year starter at quarterback usually gives a team the upper hand.

In 2023, it will be advantage Montour.

Jake Wolfe returns for his third year as starting QB for the Spartans.

“To have a three-year starter at quarterback is great for us and a luxury,” Montour coach Lou Cerro said. “Jake has improved in all facets of the game and really has worked hard in the weight room to transform his body and get stronger. He can do a lot of things for us being a dual-threat guy.”

As a sophomore in 2021, Wolfe threw for 733 yards and four touchdowns. He doubled his passing yards and threw four times as many touchdowns last fall. Wolfe hit on 109 of 182 passes for 1,473 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also was second on the team in rushing with 350 yards and four touchdowns.

“It’s crazy how fast time goes,” Wolfe said. “When you are younger, you don’t realize how quickly high school goes. I’m super excited for my senior season and can’t wait to play another year with my teammates and friends.”

Montour finished in third place in the Parkway Conference in 2022 behind perennial powers Aliquippa and Central Valley. The Spartans were 5-2 in the conference and ended up 7-5 overall following a thrilling first-round playoff victory over Hampton, 34-33, and a quarterfinals loss to eventual champion Aliquippa, 41-7.

“We won some big football games down the stretch to make it into the playoffs and get third place in the conference and a home playoff game,” Cerro said. “We had a ton of young guys playing at a high level as the season went on to help us reach our goals.”

That young talent returning has Cerro excited as the season gets closer.

“I’m excited to see how our sophomores that played a ton last year mature into juniors, and to see how much of step Jake takes to the next level,” Cerro said. “We have a ton of skill and we have to utilize them in as many roles as possible.”

The concern for Cerro, whose team returns seven starters on each side of the ball, is up front on the lines.

“We have a ton of lineman, but we need to see who is going to come through for us up front on both sides of the ball,” he said. “Most have played, but now they need to come through.”

The Spartans have several dandies at wide receiver and cornerback, including senior Keino Fitzpatrick II and junior Daniel Batch.

“Keino is a three-year starter at cornerback and was the leading receiver last year,” Cerro said. “He’s ultra-competitive and athletic. Daniel is a dynamic player who will only be playing football for his second year. He is one of the fastest players I have coached.”

Also returning at wideout and defensive back are juniors James Bundridge, who Cerro calls athletic and a great route runner, and A.J. Alston, a fearless player on both sides of the ball.

Athletic and strong is how Cerro describes two other Spartans standouts in junior tight end/linebacker Kaleb Platz and senior lineman Alex Dusch.

Cerro knows the going is always tough in the Class 4A Parkway Conference, but he expects the black and gold to be right there competing with the top teams.

For his part, Wolfe hopes to eclipse 2,000 passing yard and 500 rushing yards.

“I want to help the team to the best of my ability and improve myself as a person and an athlete,” he said. “I expect our team to contend for the section championship and make a far run in the playoffs. I believe we can win the WPIAL championship and make a deep run in the state playoffs.”

Montour

Coach: Lou Cerro

2022 record: 7-5, 5-2 in Class 4A Parkway Conference

All-time record: 454-352-20

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.25 at Mars, 7

9.1 at Moon, 7

9.8 South Fayette, 7

9.15 at Aliquippa*, 7

9.22 Ambridge*, 7

9.29 at New Castle*, 7

10.6 at Central Valley*, 7

10.13 Chartiers Valley*, 7

10.20 at Blackhawk*, 7

10.27 West Allegheny*, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Jake Wolfe

109-182, 1,473 yards, 17 TDs

Rushing: Brock Janeda*

131-559 yards, 6 TDs

Receiving: Keino Fitzpatrick II

33-358 yards, 3 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• Lou Cerro begins his 19th season as head coach at Montour. He also serves as the school district’s athletic director. He has won three WPIAL championships at Montour (2011) and at his previous coaching stint at Seton LaSalle (2002, ‘04).

• This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Spartans winning the first of their three WPIAL football championships in a win over Freeport in the 1963 Class AA title game, 29-12. Montour beat Arnold, 19-7, the next season to win the 1964 Class AA crown. The program’s most recent championship came 12 years ago when it rolled past Knoch, 42-14, in the 2011 Class AAA finals.

• During Cerro’s first 18 years at Montour, the Spartans missed the playoffs four times. They did not qualify in his first two seasons in 2005-06, as well as in 2018 and in 2020. In 2018, they finished in a three-way tie for fourth place and lost the tiebreaker to New Castle. In 2020, the Spartans finished in third place in the 4A Parkway Conference, but only the top two teams and two of the three third-place teams made the shortened playoffs due to covid-19, and they lost out to Hampton and McKeesport.

• This is the 92nd season of Montour football, including preceding schools in the district.

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