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Spartans Ready For Battle

Written by: on Thursday, September 3rd, 2009



 After a trip to the WPIAL Championship in 2007, and making it to the quarterfinals last season, it is safe to say that the Montour Spartans are now a contender in triple-A, and could once again make some noise in 2009.

The Spartans went 6-5 during a 2008 campaign that was lead by quarterback E.J. Banks, who has since left to play for Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

With Banks gone, Montour has been left to find someone to step into some huge shoes in ’09.

“I don’t think you can replace a guy like E.J., a four-year starter for us.  We have three capable guys who are looking to replace him at quarterback,” said head coach Lou Cerro.  “Defensively I think we’ll be OK.  He was a very good defensive player, but we have some guys coming back.  Replacing him offensively is going to be the key to our season.”

With inexperience at quarterback, the Spartans will look to #22 Phil Peckich to carry the load.  

Last Season, Peckich rushed for 645 yards on 106 carries.

But for his senior season, Peckich said personal accolades don’t matter — it’s all about the team getting to where it needs to be.

“I have my goals, but they’re not important right now.  Whatever it takes to win games is what I’m focused on right now,” said Peckich.

Two of Montour’s losses last season came at the hands of the Highlands Rams, a 20-12 loss in Week 2 and a 35-34 loss in the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Montour will look for some revenge of last year’s playoff loss when they make the trip from McKees Rocks to Natrona Heights to take on the Rams once again on Sept. 11.

Peckich said the team uses last season’s playoff loss to as motivation every day, but they’re not dwelling on the past.

“We came up an inch short on a two point conversion.  We definitely used it as motivation for the whole offseason — in the weight room, on the field, everything.  Before practice we mention it everyday, but we’ve got to move on and we know what we have to do to get better this year,” said Peckich.

Look for Peckich to have a big season, along with the offense and defensive line led by George Beerhalterand Austin Heter.  

Beerhalter, who suffered a foot injury during the offseason, re-injured it on the first day of camp, but plans to be ready for the Spartans’ regular season opener at Pine-Richland on Sept. 4.

“It was real tough, especially senior year.  It was real tough to do, but I’m happy it’s only one week,” said Beerhalter.

Beerhalter was the starting center on the 2007 Spartan team that lost in the WPIAL Finals and is hungry to once again play under the lights at Heinz Field.

“It was one chance in a lifetime and we’re going to get there a second time hopefully,” said Beerhalter.

Beerhalter and the Spartans won’t play at home until Sept. 18, but when they do, it will be at a new and improved Thomas J. Birko Stadium.

“We’re excited.  The community here is excited about our new field, new stands, new press box, new track, so it will benefit the whole school as the year goes on,” said Cerro

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