By Harold Raker
The Daily Item
MONTGOMERY — One might think that Warrior Run’s football players would be giddy about taking on this week’s opponent, old rival Montgomery.
The Defenders are 0-7 and this Heartland Athletic Conference crossover game is their best chance yet to avoid a winless season. The Red Raiders, whom the Defenders rolled 42-6 under similar circumstances last season, are 1-6 with a win over Bucktail.
Yet, according to Warrior Run coach Mark Burrows, fans should expect no more or no less intensity from his players Friday night than they have seen or will see versus much better teams.
“I am happy with the kids. No matter who we play, we haven’t ever quit. The kids continue to play hard and that is all I can ask of them,” he said.
“We are not making injuries an excuse. When you have freshmen and sophomores playing both ways, they are getting a lot of game experience, but, at the same time, they are not physically ready for that”.
But either his players are not watching the scoreboard, or they are not phased by it.
“No matter what the score, and the situation, with whoever we play, they never quit,” Burrows said.
Burrows added that, while it has not shown on the scoreboard, he players have played hard every game.
“I’ve never seen my coaching staff work this hard in all their life. These guys believe in the long run what they are doing is going to make a difference. They are working their tails off and I couldn’t be any more happy for that either.”
Despite its record, Montgomery could be a tough out for Warrior Run.
“They are very active. They are very quick. Their linebackers are very active and they play a 3-5 with people sailing around everywhere,” Burrows said. “They are constantly harassing and putting pressure on people and we have worked on that.”
He said the Red Raiders’ defense will not play teams straight up, but will have people twisting and turning every different way and the have good athletes.
Burrows also said his players know that this could be their best chance for a win and they are not going to take anyone lightly.
“They know the situation and, looking back to where we’ve come from, the teams we’ve played, we hope that that experience of playing those quality teams will end up helping us the next two weeks,” he said.
The Defenders travel to winless Wyalusing next week before finishing at unbeaten Southern Columbia.