West: Montour, Central Valley to play in front of TV cameras
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It's show time.
With the camera's rolling under the lights, Thursday night football kicks off in the WPIAL with one of the Parkway Conference's most anticipated matchups this week.
Root Sports will travel to Beaver County to feature the top two Class AAA teams live on television when Montour visits conference-foe Central Valley at 7 p.m. at Sarge Alberts Stadium in Monaca.
"Anytime you get some publicity for your team and your school district it's a good thing," Montour coach Lou Cerro said. "The stakes are high anytime you play Central Valley, and it seems like everytime we're playing each other, the stakes are pretty high.
"It's still going to be a fun game and a great game in the conference."
Central Valley enters the game ranked No. 1 in Class AAA by the Post-Gazette, while Montour sits right behind the Warriors ranked No. 2 in this week's rankings.
A rematch of last season's Class AAA semifinal, the Spartans beat Central Valley, 21-14, before capturing a WPIAL championship. The Warriors, however, won the first meeting between the two teams during the regular season, 27-16.
"It doesn't make any difference whether we play now, the middle of the year or the end of the year," Central Valley coach Mark Lyons said. "The kids are excited to play and excited to play on TV.
"It's going to be a great atmosphere with a great crowd. This should be a great game and a great show."
Montour (1-0, 1-0) earned its first Parkway Conference win last week with a 34-8 victory against Hopewell.
"We played a lot of different guys and a lot of new guys," Cerro said. "We need to work on getting everyone adjusted and ready to play.
"We have to get everyone better or we're going to be run out of the house. This is a big game early in the season."
Star wide receiver Devin Wilson paced the Spartans' victory with five receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He opened Montour's scoring with a 33-yard pass from Ryan Mihelic in the first quarter and followed with a 59-yard touchdown reception from Tynen Greer in the second quarter.
Montour used three quarterbacks against Hopewell and expects to do the same this week with Mihelic, Greer and Max Rosinsky against Central Valley.
"The thing I hope everyone realizes is that Montour is the defending champion," Lyons said. "They have what everyone is after.
"They have a nice nucleus of guys who can play. They have great coaches and coach Cerro does a great job getting his team prepared.
"Most of all, they have a guy who decided to up the level of his game. Devin Wilson is a special player."
Central Valley (1-0, 1-0) topped New Castle last week, 31-7, to earn its first Parkway Conference win.
"We're looking for consistency," Lyons said. "We need to finish drives, especially in the red zone. We have to work on situational football as to where we're at on the field, the down and the distance."
Sophomore running back Jordan Whitehead led the Warriors with 136 yards rushing and a touchdown. Jaquan Pennington also ran for 103 yards, while star receiver Robert Foster had eight receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown.
"They have two of the best players in the WPIAL in Foster and Whitehead," Cerro said. "The rest of the team has tough kids who go after the ball and do the extra things needed to make the team better.
"They stress the very same stuff we stress. It's going to be a well-fought game."
Central Valley quarterback Nate Climo, a transfer from Crestview High School in Ohio, completed 11 of 15 passes for 105 yards and connected with Foster for a touchdown against New Castle.
"We have to keep their offense off the field and stop them from making the big plays," Cerro said. "We need to play mistake-free football and stay on top of the ball."
Lyons shared the same sentiment.
"There are no easy games in the Parkway Conference," Lyons said. "Week in and week out we're going to have big games.
"We have to bring our 'A' game whoever we play, and whoever prepares well has the best chance to come out on top. Both teams are in the same boat. We have to prepare and take care of ourselves."
• Game: Montour at Central Valley.
• When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
• Where: Sarge Albert Stadium.
• Skinny: It's a meeting of the top two ranked teams in WPIAL Class AAA.
First Published September 6, 2012 12:00 am