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CoGo's High School Football Feature Matchup: Hopewell at Montour

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The Montour Spartans (2-1) will look to rebound from an upset loss to Chartiers Valley when they take on the Hopewell Vikings (1-2), who are coming off a 61-7 thrashing at the hands of West Allegheny.

Head coach Lou Cerro acknowledged that the loss was deflating, after the Spartans opened the season with wins over No. 1 Central Valley, last year’s WPIAL champions and state runner-up, and New Castle.

Heading into the Hopewell game, Cerro emphasized a quick rebound.

“We just have to keep our focus,” he said. “We’ve just got to get better at it.”

Adding to the Spartans challenges are a slew of injuries.

Quarterback Tyler Carswell, who has made the transition from wide receiver after starter Randall Labrie tore an ACL over the summer, and running back David Haseleu (242 yards on 42 carries), are both question marks.

“We’re really banged up,” he said. “We have to make sure the younger kids are ready to go.”

Cerro is hopeful that both Carswell and Hasaleu will be ready, but hinted that a backup quarterback, possibly junior Mason Schrenker, could see playing time regardless. Through three games, Carswell has completed 16 of 40 passing attempts for 171 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.

On the flip side, Hopewell has a new coach at the helm in Mark Washington, who hopes to bring the Vikings back from a combined 1-15 record over the past two seasons. Washington’s squad has already matched that win total this year with a win over Ambridge, one of the better teams in the conference.

On the field, Cerro said the Montour defense must keep a close eye on Chaz Bruce, Hopewell’s talented senior wide receiver. Through three games, Bruce has seven receptions for 84 yards and one score.

“They have a really nice wide receiver [Bruce],” Cerro said. “We got to account for him and make sure we keep him in check.”

Hopewell’s quarterback play will likely play into that equation, as well. Junior Billy Depaul has competed 18 of 50 passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

On the ground, Montour will look to contain seniors James Kimbrough and Mirko Loncar, who have combined for 28 carries, 129 yards and one touchdown.

Looking in the long term, this game is an important step toward bringing Montour another conference championship.

“We control our destiny,” Cerro said. “We have to run the table to win the conference.”

Cerro added that staying healthy will play a big role in attaining that goal.

Kickoff for the game is at 7 p.m. Friday at Montour High School’s Thomas J. Burko Memorial Stadium.

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