Montour senior quarterback E.J. Banks has been an integral part of the Spartans' resurgence.
Now, after living in the shadow of former running back Christian Wilson, all eyes will be on Banks.
"We'll go as far as E.J. takes us," Montour coach Lou Cerro said.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Banks will be a third-year starter at quarterback and a four-year starter at defensive back, so he certainly hasn't underachieved. It's just that the focus and attention always seemed to be on Wilson, now at North Carolina.
That will change this season.
"I think we had a nice 1-2 combination with those two," Cerro said. "A lot of teams focused on Christian, and they're going to focus on E.J. this year. We're going to do things to feature him a little more.
"We've been asking him to do a lot the last three years. He handles pressure well. That's what he does."
Banks, who committed to Notre Dame to play defensive back, passed for 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 990 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He helped Montour to an appearance in the WPIAL title game, where the Spartans lost to eventual PIAA champion Thomas Jefferson.
"He's elusive," Cerro said. "He's confident. When he makes a mistake, he wants to get better the next play. For a kid who won't play quarterback in college, he'll be a very good high school quarterback."
Height/weight: 6-foot/180 pounds
Positions: Quarterback/defensive back
Notable: Prior to high school, Banks thought his future was in basketball. The Notre Dame football recruit averaged 17 points per game as a Montour's guard last season.
Despite his promising future on defense, Banks should be one of the best quarterbacks in the WPIAL this year. He has transformed into a dual-threat quarterback thanks to guidance from the coaching staff.
"Coach Cerro helped me a lot," Banks said. "The whole coaching staff helped me grow.
"There was a big turnaround. Before, I was a run-first quarterback. Now, I'm somewhat of a passer. Now, I think pass first."
Senior wide receiver Milton Banks, E.J.'s cousin, has benefited from E.J.'s pass-first approach. It's no coincidence that Milton was E.J.'s favorite target last season.
E.J. and Milton, who's a few months older than E.J., always played sports growing up, and they currently live together. Cerro said the cousins fight like brothers at times, but the chemistry is obvious.
"We talk a lot outside football," E.J. said. "We go over routes. Against certain defenses, he'll know to do something a little differently. We have that relationship where when I'm in a jam, I can look over his way, and he'll usually do what I need him to."
Tricia Lafferty can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5666.