If it’s the District 4 Class 3A football championship game, there is a good chance that Danville and Montoursville are involved.

For the fourth time since 2016, the Ironmen and Warriors are going to meet for a second time in the District 4 championship game after a regular-season date.

The two teams split in 2020 — Montoursville winning the regular-season battle, while the Ironmen won the district championship — and Danville is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself when they host the Warriors at Ironmen Stadium on Friday night in another district title game battle.

“It’s very difficult to beat a team twice in one year,” Danville coach Mike Brennan said. “They are a very well-coached team. We’re going to need to play our best football game of the year.”

Montoursville might be without Rocco Pulizzi, who has missed the last three weeks with an injury. He ran for 1,141 yards this season with six touchdowns this season. He had 97 yards and a touchdown in Danville’s 35-14 win in the regular-season contest.

“We are approaching it like Pulizzi is going to play, that’s how we are preparing,” Brennan said.

Dylan Blackwell has picked up the bulk of that work over the last three weeks, leading the team with 50 carries.

“We know what Rocco can do, but we’ve had some other guys step up in his (absence),” Montoursville coach Mike Boughton said. “We’re just trying to get the ball in some our other athletes’ hands.”

Danville, which won the district title with help from the right arm of K.J. Riley last season, has a bit of a different identity heading into this district final.

Brennan stressed all season about the importance of establishing junior Ty Stauffer and the running game. Add in the injury to quarterback Zach Gordon on Sept. 17, and that become imperative.

Consider that mission accomplished as Stauffer has run for 1,331 yards this season with 17 touchdowns, including 199 yards in last week’s win over Loyalsock in the semifinals. Danville’s offensive line has been a big part of that success. Though the Ironmen aren’t a Wing-T team anymore, some of those blocking principals still apply in the offense, and seniors guards Joe Davis and Gabe Benjamin pulling have been huge for a running game that rolled up 354 yards on the ground.

“That pull, and pin (blocking) has worked really well for us all year, and we can run so many different counter actions off it,” Brennan said.

Gordon even got into the act last week in his return to the field, rushing for his first four touchdowns of the season.

“The plan for the back half of the season was to build Zach into the running game,” Brennan said. “He’s such a good read-option runner. Now, obviously he didn’t have a back half of the season with the injury, but we’re a much better running team with part of the equation.”

With Blackwell getting the bulk of the work running the ball, and Brayden Brown returning from injury late in the season, the Warriors also getting healthy on the defensive side of the ball.

Blackwell and Brown each had double-digit tackles against the Milton running attack last week.

“We got some guys back last week,” Boughton said. “You can see what they mean to us.”

The Black Panthers ran for 220 yards, but 128 came from quarterback Xzavier Minium, and Milton’s 1,000-yard rusher Chris Doyle was held to just 25 yards on 11 carries.

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