Montour looks to erase sting of not making playoffs in 2018

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Saturday, August 17, 2019 | 11:10 AM


The winds of change swept through the West Hills of Pittsburgh last fall, leaving one perennial WPIAL playoff team out in the cold when the postseason arrived.

The 3-7 season ended a 12-year playoff run for Montour.

The Spartans finished 3-4 in the Class 4A Northwest Eight Conference, tying for fourth place with New Castle and Knoch. The Red Hurricane won the tiebreaker to qualify for the postseason, and Montour missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

That followed a season in which the Spartans finished 9-3 and reached the WPIAL Class 4A championship game, where they lost to Thomas Jefferson.

“Last year was a struggle for us,” said coach Lou Cerro, who is heading into his 15th season at Montour. “Injuries and inexperience killed us at times. We graduated 22 seniors the year before and made it to Heinz Field. We didn’t make the playoffs, and it stings. Hopefully, our returning players feel the sting also.”

Sting or not, there are plenty of returning starters, with eight on each side of the ball.

The team will be led by senior George Padazanin, a four-year starting lineman who was the defensive player of year in the Northwest Eight last fall.

Quarterback Luke Persinger threw for 1,012 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore a year ago.

“Took some lumps but has had a great offseason and has really improved,” Cerro said.

Senior wide receiver/defensive back Dom Magliocco is a three-year starter who “stirs our drink offensively and defensively,” Cerro said.

Also back are the team’s two leading rushers: seniors William White and Gannon Kadlecik, who combined for 677 yards. White averaged 5.5 yards per carry, and Kadlecik averaged 4.8 yards.

Despite the struggles of a year ago, Padazanin is optimistic for 2019.

“This year’s team has a chance to be something special if we continue to work,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that have a ton of experience and, most importantly, a passion for the game. The 2019 Spartans will be a team to remember.”

Cerro knows a turnaround won’t be easy, especially in the deep Northwest Eight.

“There are so many good teams in our conference,” Cerro said. “WPIAL champion (South Fayette) coming back. There are two new coaches at Knoch and Ambridge. New Castle, Beaver, Blackhawk and Highlands have a ton of good players.”

Depth is an issue with most teams, so while injuries are a concern for Cerro, he likes the makeup of his team as it prepares to kick off the season.

“I am excited to see our kids lay it all on the line to make up from not making the playoffs,” Cerro said. “We are very focused, and the team gets along. There are no individuals.”

Schedule

Coach: Lou Cerro

2018 record: 3-7, 3-4

All-time record: 434-331-20

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, Moon, 7

8.30, at New Castle*, 7

9.6, Laurel Highlands, 7

9.13, Aliquippa, 7

9.20, at Blackhawk*, 7

9.27, at Knoch*, 7

10.4, Highlands*, 7

10.11, at Ambridge*, 7

10.18, Beaver*, 7

10.25, at South Fayette*, 7

*Class 4A Northwest 8 Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Luke Persinger

71-148, 1,012 yards, 8 TDs

Rushing: William White

84-456 yards, 6 TDs

Receiving: Anthony Tambellini*

26-499 yards, 9 TDs

*Graduated

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