By Matt Popchock


The road to the WPIAL Football Championships is a long and arduous one, and even when Montour (10-2) and Knoch (12-0) arrive at Heinz Field, there are so many directions Saturday’s Class AAA title contest could go.

Montour’s season could have taken a turn for the worse–much worse–as the postseason drew nearer. The Spartans, a preseason favorite, were in danger of missing it, but won crucial Parkway Conference games against New Castle and West Allegheny to punch their ticket.

But Saturday wouldn’t be possible without last Friday’s thrilling 21-14 win over defending WPIAL champion Central Valley, the team that beat them for the 2011 conference crown and a year ago denied them their first title in roughly half a century.

Head coach Lou Cerro joined 93.7 The Fan’s John Phillips on “The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services High School Football Show” to discuss that victory, and look ahead to his team’s return engagement in the WPIAL Class AAA Final:

Cerro’s opponent in the championship game has turned its own fair share of heads this season as well.

The Knights ran the table in the Greater Allegheny Conference thanks to one of the most prolific offenses in the classification. Keystone Conference champion Franklin Regional possessed the top defense in Class AAA, perhaps the only unit capable of taking them down.

Sure enough, last Friday’s game was a low-scoring affair for Knoch, but it was head coach Mike King’s defense that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. It overcame three offensive interceptions, shut down one of the best running backs in the WPIAL, and earned an opportunity to win its first title in over 30 years with a walk-off field goal.

King also joined 93.7 The Fan’s John Phillips on “The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services High School Football Show.” Here’s what he had to say about that 9-7 victory, and about facing Montour this weekend:

Tune into “The UPMC Centers for Rehab Services High School Football Show” Saturday 7-9 A.M., brought to you by ROOT Sports and hosted by John Phillips, for a special preview of all four WPIAL Football Championship games, and be sure to read the “Mr. High School Sports” blog later that day for special reports from Heinz Field!

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