Ligonier Valley Spreads Wealth, Beats Apollo-Ridge to Land Playoff Berth



Friday, October 29, 2021 | 23:08

It was a fun night for the Ligonier Valley football team on Friday.

The Rams managed to throw touchdown passes to three players, including 300-pound center Jude Grzywinski, and rolled over Apollo-Ridge, 48-22, on a rainy and damp Weller field.

The victory landed a place in the WPIAL playoffs, the Rams’ first since joining WPIAL, and they finished third in the Allegheny Class 2A Conference with an overall record of 8- 2, 3-2 in the conference.

Apollo-Ridge’s loss (2-8, 1-4) eliminated them from the playoffs.

Ligonier Valley will find out which team it faces in the playoffs on Saturday. The Rams could host it, but they have to find a local lot that has sod.

“I want to end the rumors right away. We don’t have a quarterback controversy between our 303-pound center and our quarterbacks, ”Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel joked after the game. “It was a fun night. These were our elders, and the man played.

“Grant Dowden was a guy. He was making plays everywhere. He started off with two big quickies.

Dowden scored three touchdowns, caught three passes for 142 yards, ran for 55 yards and intercepted a pass.

Ligonier Valley scored touchdowns on his first four possessions and took a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.

Dowden caught a 65-yard touchdown pass on a backhand from wide receiver Matt Marinchak, then caught a swung pass from Broderick Schreyer and ran for 75 yards to give the Rams an early 13-0 lead.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a while,” said Dowden. “It was a mix of the whole team having fun, and we didn’t get mad at things we couldn’t control.

“It was crazy. I wasn’t expecting the pass, but I’m glad Matt saw me. It was awesome. On the swing pass, I didn’t want to get caught.

The Rams scored again when Nick Beitel caught a screen pass from Schreyer and ran 35 yards for a score on the last play of the first quarter for a 21-0 lead.

Halfway through the second quarter, Schreyer hit Marinchak on a 35-yard touchdown pass for a 28-0 lead.

Schreyer completed 8 of 14 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Landon Harmon’s 10-yard run got Apollo-Ridge on the board in the second quarter, but the Vikings could never come close.

Dowden’s 5-yard touchdown run made it 35-6 in the third quarter, but Apollo-Ridge quarterback Karter Schrock responded with an 8-yard dash to reduce the lead to 35-14 .

Schrock completed 13 of 25 passes for 178 yards, 10 for Angelo Cicco for 149 yards.

Schreyer connected on a 14-yard strike to Haden Sierocky in the fourth quarter, and that’s when coach Beitel decided to give Grzywinski some time in the wildcat. He ran twice for 7 yards, then in his third play he shoveled a pass to George Golden for 5 yards.

“With George’s touchdown, every senior has scored a touchdown this season for us,” Beitel said. “We were in control of our own destiny and we were mindful of business. I am proud of them and proud of this program.

Schrock scored his second touchdown of the game on a one-yard dive with 30 seconds left.

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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