Montour knocks off previously unbeaten Knoch in OT

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 11:03 PM

Knoch hoped to add a victory to Friday night’s homecoming festivities at Knights Stadium, but Gannon Kadlecik and his Montour teammates had other ideas.

Kadlecik scored two touchdowns, including a 3-yard run in the first overtime as the Spartans came away with a hard-fought 14-7 Northwest 8 Conference victory.

“This was amazing,” Kadlecik said. “We knew coming in we had to win and have full effort. Everyone came out and played. That’s all I can say.”

Montour, who played without starting quarterback Luke Persinger because of injury, improved to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play with a home game against Highlands next.

Knoch (5-1, 4-1) was denied its first 6-0 start since 2011, and it also fell short in its quest to wrap up a Class 4A playoff spot.

“Montour is a tough, well-coached team,” Knights coach Brandon Mowry said. “They came in 1-4, but that wasn’t reflective of the type of team they are. They had a couple of close losses. We knew it was going to be a battle, and we prepared for that all week. Both teams played hard.”

Montour went on offense first in overtime, and Kadlecik had both carries for his team on its possession. Robert Rippole, who missed field goals from 34 and 40 yards in the second and fourth quarters, respectively, hammered home the point after for the deciding points.

Knoch tried to find the equalizer, but its possession didn’t start well.

Kam Grassi lost 3 yards on first down and had a pass nearly intercepted at the goal line on second down.

Grassi’s third-down pass was tipped at the line.

Matt Goodlin, who finished with 95 yards on 23 carries for the Knights, was tackled at the 6 on fourth down to end the game.

“We had a tough week of practice, and we all worked extremely hard,” said Spartans senior defensive lineman George Padezanin, who helped hold the potent Knoch rush offense to 146 yards on 39 attempts.

“We trusted our coaching, and we all played as a team.”

Knoch had the final possession of regulation and mixed six runs with two pass completions from Grassi to move the ball to the Montour 30.

With eight seconds on the clock, the Spartans set up for a field goal.

Justin Tristani’s kick from 46 yards was straight, but it fell a couple of feet short.

“The kid has a strong leg, and I know he’s going to keep working hard,” Mowry said. “If we get in that position again, we have complete faith in him.”

Both teams gained a majority of their yards on the ground. The defenses were stingy, and long runs were at a premium.

Montour went to the wildcat with direct snaps to Kadlecik and Dom Magliocco.

Kadlecik, who finished with 26 carries for 145 yards, got the Spartans on the board at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter with a 3-yard run. He set up his own TD with a 66-yard scamper on the first play of the drive.

Magliocco added 12 carries for 44 yards.

“We stuck with it, and we couldn’t get frustrated,” Montour coach Lou Cerro said. “We played without our quarterback, so we had to change a lot of things this week. Give Knoch credit. They are a good football team. That’s why they were undefeated. It was a great football game, and we took advantage of our opportunities when we had them.”

Montour maintained its 7-0 lead until the 3:32 mark of the third when Knoch struck defensively.

Pinned inside its 10, Montour went to the pass, and Magliocco threw into the flat. However, Goodlin was there to intercept the pass and take it into the end zone for the score.

Knoch will attempt to bounce back next week at defending conference and WPIAL champion South Fayette (5-1, 3-0). The Lions topped Blackhawk, 34-14, on Friday.

In two weeks, the Knights host New Castle to conclude conference play.

“We have two big games the next two weeks,” Mowry said. “I told the guys to keep their heads up because they fought to the end. I am proud of their effort.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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