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Spartans Sports

Montour Defeats Pine-Richland

Varsity vs Pine Richland HS on 8/29/2008
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2008 by Damon Rosol

Montour senior is money in the Banks



Aug 29, 2008 @ 7:30 pm
Montour 35
Pine-Richland 27

Montour's E.J. Banks showed why he is one of the top players in the WPIAL this season, leading Montour (1-0) to a mostly impressive, 35-27 victory over Pine-Richland Friday night.

Banks, a senior quarterback, completed 14 of 22 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 107 yards and four scores on 11 carries, all in the first half. Banks was out for most of the second half, but he was forced to return due to an improbable comeback by Pine-Richland (0-1).

For the game, Banks rushed for 117 yards and passed for 166. Phil Peckich rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries.

Matt Yoklic completed six of 15 for 126 yards to lead Pine-Richland.

The comeback, fueled by three Montour turnovers, allowed what looked to be a beaten Pine-Richland team back into the game and put a scare into the Spartans. Pine-Richland's final threat of the game, with less than two minutes to play, was what appeared to be a hook-and-ladder play that was intercepted by Montour at the Pine-Richland 35-yard line. The Spartans then ran out the clock.

The Montour defense did its job early on and limited the Rams to just 9 yards of offense in the first quarter and a 14-7 lead. The only things Pine-Richland managed in the first quarter were a couple of returns, one for a touchdown and one brought back by a penalty.

The Rams got a couple of big plays in the second quarter, two of which were pass completions from Yoklic to T.J. Kuban and to Ben Keuthe. The Keuthe completion was good for 42 yards and a touchdown, and the Kuban reception was the first first down for Pine-Richland -- with less than 10 minutes to play in the second quarter.

Banks scored four touchdowns in the first half and threw for one to help lead the Spartans to a 21-point lead.

The Spartans opened the game with a 13-play drive and even though it produced no points, it gave an indication of what was to come. Pine-Richland's first possession of the game resulted in a loss of 10 yards. It also featured the last plays at quarterback for Vinny Nittoli.

After he was stopped for a loss of 4 yards on the first possession, Nittoli was replaced by Yoklic.

Following a punt, Banks led the Spartans on a four-play drive that culminated with the first of his four first-half scores. This was a 16-yard run up the middle.

Pine-Richland answered back when Mitch Elliot returned Andrew Krall's kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Pine-Richland's next possession ended with a fumble that was recovered by Montour's Josh Babjak at the Pine-Richland 29.

Following a 24-yard pass from Banks to Joshua Brophy, Banks again scored, this time from 5 yards out to put the Spartans up, 14-7.

The game hit a lull after that, and it wasn't until Yoklic completed the passes to Kuban and Keuthe that either offense made any plays of significance. The pass to Keuthe tied the score, 14-14, but that was pretty much it for the Rams in the first half.

The ensuing nine-play drive for Montour ended as had the others, with another Banks touchdown run, this time on a quarterback keeper from the 2-yard line. Banks sidestepped Pine-Richland linebacker Tom Berexa and then walked in for his third score of the game and a 21-14 lead.

The Montour defense then stiffened, and Pine-Richland's next possession ended on a sack from Montour's Michael Tirone.

Banks then took control of the next possession. Banks ran for 5 yards, then 4 and then, on a third down from the Pine-Richland 33-yard line, he burst through the middle for his fourth touchdown and a 14-point lead.

Things then got worse for the Rams when Yoklic's pass was intercepted by Milton Banks and returned 25 yards to the Pine-Richland 35-yard line. Two plays later, Banks connected with Thomas Birko for a 31-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left to play, thus appearing to end the competitive phase of the game.

Montour's offense was sloppy in the second half including a pair of fumbles. One led to a nice drive by Pine-Richland that resulted in a touchdown drive. Ian Hennessy scored on a 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the Montour lead to 35-21.

The other led to a 59-yard touchdown pass from Eric Kordenbrock to Yoklic that cut the lead to eight points, the final margin of the game.

Thomas Zuck can be reached at thomas.zuck@verizon.net.

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