South Fayette tops Montour for 56th straight regular-season victory

Saturday, October 28, 2017 | 12:51 AM

Top-ranked South Fayette made a statement to the rest of Class 4A on Friday night, defeating No. 4 Montour, 49-21, to finish the regular season undefeated for the sixth straight season, a streak of 56 games.

The Lions locked up the Northwest Nine Conference title with the win.

After being upset in the first round of the playoffs last year, Lions coach Joe Rossi expects his team to come out with fire this year.

“We sat here last year in the same place. We are sitting here at 10-0 and I told them (to be prepared); the following Monday we were handing in our equipment,” Rossi said. “You have to have a different look in your eye this time of year. We came up short of a goal last year, but that's football and that's life. Were hungry for it, and hopefully we can capitalize and take it one game at a time.”

Montour coach Lou Cerro said his team has the leadership to have a strong showing in the playoffs despite finishing the regular season with the loss.

“We're a veteran group. I think we have to bounce back or it's going to be a one-and-done,” he said. “We haven't won a playoff game in a few years, so it's time for us to hopefully turn that around and get back on the horse next week and try again.”

Montour started the game strong, marching down the field on the first drive of the game that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brayden Jones. The 12-play, 57-yard drive killed 5 minutes, 25 seconds to put South Fayette in an early hole.

South Fayette was up for the challenge, answering immediately with a Drew Saxton 10-yard touchdown pass to Noah Plack to even the score at 7-7. The Spartans were unable to get much more offense going throughout the duration of the half as the Lions continued to force quick punts and piled on.

Saxton found the end zone three more times before halftime — one rushing score and two more passing touchdowns. The standout senior was 9 of 14 for 218 yards entering halftime. Plack caught two touchdown passes in the half, and RayQuin Glover recorded 110 yards receiving, including a 33-yard touchdown.

Montour entered the third quarter trailing 28-7.

The Lions were set to receive the second half kickoff, but Cerro opted to try and spark his team with an onside kick attempt. The Spartans recovered, and immediately came down the field and scored to put the team within two touchdowns of the Lions.

But South Fayette continued to chug down the field and tack on points each drive it had in the second half until its final possession of the game.

“I thought we needed to do something there to start the second half to get some momentum, and we did; we went down and scored,” Cerro said. “We try to get a stop and they go right down the field and score again. They made some plays and scored again, so it deflated us a little bit after that. We kept trying and trying, but just couldn't get back in the game.”

Montour rounded out the scoring as Kavon Morman heaved up a 34-yard pass to Ronald Stevenson that was hauled in for a touchdown with 6:19 left for the 49-21 final.

For the Lions, Saxton finished the afternoon completing 14 of 20 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. He added rushing touchdowns of 1 and 8 yards. Plack had a dominant night on both sides of the ball, catching four passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns, while recording 12 tackles and a sack. Glover hauled in five passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

For Montour, Morman finished 6 of 13 for 81 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 69 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown on the ground.

“We know what happened last year,” Saxton said. “We're trying to avoid that and trying to have a great week of practice and trying to step it up a little because we know it's win or go home. Were really trying to elevate ourselves and have a great week.”

Tyler Godwin is a freelance writer.

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