Montgomery over Nativity BVM 14-3
MONTGOMERY – Slow starts have been a problem for Nativity BVM this year.
And although Nativity coach Pat Mason didn’t want to use the short week and long 90-minute bus ride up to Eastern Lycoming County as excuses, those two things likely weren’t helpful as the Green Wave once again fell behind early and ultimately fell to Montgomery 14-3 on Thursday night.
Montgomery scored a pair of early touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, and despite some potential momentum to end the first half and begin the second by Nativity, the Green Wave weren’t able to dig themselves out of another hole.
“We just didn’t come to play right away,” said Mason. “We waited around to play defense and unfortunately it killed us. The same things happened against Millersburg, it happened against Minersville and Mahanoy. We fought everybody for two-and-a-half quarters but we have to fight for four quarters. I just have to get these guys better prepared to come and play.”
Following Montgomery’s second touchdown of the game that came with 8:08 left in the second quarter, the Green Wave defense shut down the Red Raiders, and Nativity also won the turnover battle, as the Green Wave gained four turnovers while only turning it over twice themselves. However, aside from a field goal to end the first half, the Green Wave were unable to capitalize on any of the Red Raiders’ four turnovers.
“Last week we started to compartmentalism the game and just take it quarter by quarter,” said Montgomery coach Paul Bozzella. “That was huge to take a 14-0 lead
Nativity was held to just 167 yards of offense and just 88 on the ground as they found little space anywhere. That forced Nativity to throw the ball more, especially in the second half, but Green Wave quarterback Cody Miller was only able to complete seven passes for just 79 yards, as he was often flushed out of the pocket and forced to throw on the run.
“They were pretty tough, we got dominated up front and had a tough time running in between the tackles so we were trying to stretch them out a little bit and try to be an edge team but it got to the point where we had to start throwing and we just couldn’t get the completions we needed,” said Mason.
“Our defense came to play tonight and they looked really good,” said Bozzella. “Our goal tonight was to stop #5 (Miller), who is a great runner. We saw on film that they rarely ran up the middle. Most of the time he would do sprint-outs or the read option and out of the jet, too. We practiced on how to stop that read option and Kade Showers and Devin Deem played a crazy game at outside linebacker tonight and contained him and contained the edges and forced him to throw when he didn’t want to.”
Part of Nativity’s struggles could also be attributed to its field position. The Green Wave’s average starting field position was its own 35, and Nativity only started one of its 11 drives in Montgomery territory, which perhaps not coincidentally was its only scoring drive. The Green Wave were also hurt by penalties, the Nativity committed eight penalties for 91 yards in a flag-filled game, which erased a few big gains. Nativity had plays that went for 16, 10, 19 yards called back due to a pair of holding penalties and an illegal motion call. Montgomery also had seven penalties but for just 60 yards.
“If you’re adding in the lost yards from both the penalty and when you take away the gain on the play, then it’s like a 40-yard penalty if you get a 10-yard penalty and also erase the 30-yard gain,” said Mason. “Every time we got a big play, it was a hold. But we just couldn’t get anything moving offensively. We’re a young football team and we’re just going to keep plugging away and try to get better each week.”
Nativity recovered one of Montgomery’s three lost fumbles in the game on the Red Raiders’ first possession of the contest but was forced to punt. Montgomery took possession at its own 16 but put together an eight-play, 84-yard drive capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass from Logan Almeida to Maurice Walters late in the first quarter.
After three straight punts, two by Nativity and one by Montgomery, the Red Raiders took possession at their own 20 early in the second quarter and went 80 yards in four plays to go up 14-0 on a seven-yard run by Kaide Drick, who finished with 120 yards on 20 carries as Nativity struggled to find an answer for him. Colby Springman got loose for 54-yard run for the big play of that drive. Springman finished with 83 yards on 12 carries.
“We’ve got thunder and lightning with Drick and Springman,” said Bozzella. “When they started keying on Drick, Colby took two long runs almost to the house. He’s a tough runner between the tackles and Kaide is more the one to get out in open space. Those two really came to play tonight and I loved their effort.”
Late in the second quarter, Steven Spolski picked off an Almeida pass to set up Nativity at the Montgomery 38 with just :28 left in the half. On a 4th-and-8, Miller found Keegan Brennan down the right sideline for 28-yard reception with :01 remaining, and Joao Lovisi came in to kick a 24-yard field goal to get Nativity on the board on the final play of the half.
“That field goal was my fault,” said Bozzella. “I called the pass across the middle that should have happened. We should have pounded the ball.”
The Green Wave then appeared to have the momentum to start the second half as they received the second half kickoff and went 43 yards to get to the Montgomery 17 on its first drive of the half. But on the seventh play of the drive, although Jacob Hoffman appeared to be down, it was ruled that he was stripped before being down and Montgomery returned the fumble 5- yards to the Nativity 31.
Montgomery would go four-and-out and lose a fumble on fourth down and lose another fumble on its next drive, but that would be as close as Nativity got to the end zone for the rest of the game, as the Green Wave only ran six more plays in Montgomery territory the rest of the contest.
“Our objective was the chew the clock,” said Bozzella. “Our defense has struggled over the last couple of games mentally but I saw a sign of life that I haven’t seen all year. Our defense came to play tonight and it looked really good. If this is the complete team we’re turning into, then I’m extremely pleased and couldn’t be happier.”
Montgomery 14, Nativity BVM 3
Nativity BVM (2-4) 0 3 0 0 – 3
Montgomery (2-4) 7 7 0 0 – 14
2:51 – (M) Maurice Walters 23-yard pass from Logan Almeida (Gabe McNear kick), 8-84, 3:31
8:08 – (M) Kaide Drick 7-yard run (Gabe McNear kick), 4-80, 1:58
:00 – (N) Joao Lovisi 24-yard field goal, 5-30, :28
First downs 9 14
Rushes-net yards 30-88 41-197
Passing yardage 79 57
Passing 7-23-0-1 4-9-1-1
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-3
Penalties-yards 8-91 7-60
RUSHING: Nativity BVM: Jacob Hoffman (15-47), Cody Miller (12-34), Jared Yoder (2-6), Jake Ferhat (1-1); Montgomery: Kaide Drick (20-120-1), Colby Springman (12-83), Kade Showers (3-11), Logan Almeida (3-(-15)), Devon Deem (1-2), TEAM (2-(-4))
PASSING: Nativity BVM: Cody Miller (7-23-79-0-1); Montgomery: Logan Almeida (4-9-57-1-1)
RECEIVING: Nativity BVM: Keegan Brennan (2-36), TJ Wagner (2-19), Steven Spolski (1-18), Julius Walborn (1-6), Jake Ferhat (1-0); Montgomery: Maurice Walters (2-35-1), Coltin Hans (1-13), Steven Prince (1-9)
INTERCEPTIONS: Nativity BVM: Steven Spolski; Montgomery: Steven Prince
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