When Parkway Conference rivals West Allegheny and Montour meet in the WPIAL quarterfinals Friday night at Chartiers Valley, many expect a game similar in outcome to their regular-season meeting ... well, at least in terms of margin of victory, not total points.
In one of the strangest games in the WPIAL this season, visiting West Allegheny knocked off then No. 1 Montour, 5-3, in a game with no touchdowns. Unbeaten at 7-0 at the time, Montour was unable to hold onto a 3-2 lead as Evan Pelcher hit a 22-yard field goal with 58 seconds left to lift the Indians to an improbable win.
A close game with a few more points scored can be expected when No. 4 West Allegheny (9-1) and No. 5 Montour (9-1) meet again.
"Shoot, I hope there will be more points," West Allegheny coach Bob Palko said. "It was a great game, it is just hard to tell how it is going to go this time."
Montour coach Lou Cerro is also hoping for more points but he would be just as happy with another low-scoring game so long as the outcome is different.
"I hope so," Cerro said when asked if more points could be expected. "But if we win the game, 2-0, I will take that. Both defenses have been playing well, we're looking forward to another hard-hitting game."
Chayse Dillon rushed six times for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Indians' 48-7 victory against No. 13-seeded Ringgold Friday. Nick Halbedl scored three TDs as well for West Allegheny, which gained 322 of its 362 yards on the ground.
Montour was more balanced offensively in its 27-6 win against Trinity. Cole Macek rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries and two scores while Ryan Mihelcic completed 10 of 13 passes for 192 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Devin Wilson.
One of the most versatile players in the WPIAL, Wilson can hurt opposing defenses a number of ways. West Allegheny was the only team to truly contain Wilson this season.
Overall, Wilson has 57 receptions for 922 yards and 62 rushes for 489 yards and a total of 19 touchdowns. Wilson has done this all while catching passes from three different quarterbacks and playing in an offense that had to replace its starting quarterback and top running back and leading receiver after last season. Dylan Buechel a 2,800-yard passer, Julian Durden, a 2,100-yard rusher and Darren Massey, a 1,100-yard receiver, all graduated.
"They did lose a lot," Palko said. "They had a lot of kids who got some playing time, they waited for their opportunity and they are extremely talented. They have great size and they are going to beat you different ways than last year's team did.
"They know what they are doing and they know how to win. They stubbed their toe against us [in the regular season] -- maybe they were overlooking us, I guarantee you they won't do that this time."
Montour's 5-3 setback against West Allegheny on Oct. 19 was its only loss of the year. West Allegheny lost its only game on Sept. 28, a 28-14 decision at Central Valley. Montour, West Allegheny and Central Valley all finished 7-1 in the Parkway Conference with Hopewell (4-4) also qualifying for the playoffs.
The Montour/West Allegheny showdown is one of two Parkway Conference rematches with Hopewell and Central Valley also meeting in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
As tough as re-watching that 5-3 game might be, both coaches watched it in preparation for Friday's game.
"We watched it again, to put it in the back of our mind," Cerro said. "We made a lot of mistakes but they did some things we haven't seen all year, and it is a tribute to them. They were able to get us confused offensively.
"They shut down Devin. We have to get him going for us to be successful. Besides Devin, we need other guys to step up and make plays."
• Game: West Allegheny (9-1) vs. Montour (9-1).
• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Where: Chartiers Valley Stadium.
• Skinny: Montour's only loss came against West Alle-gheny, a 5-3 defensive struggle on Oct. 19.