APOLLO: The Apollo-Ridge Vikings avoided going into section play with a losing mark Friday with the help from their sophmore kicker, Brianna Akins.
After a Jeff Zelonka spike to stop the clock, senior fullback Jarrod Miller scored from 3 yards out with leaving 2 seconds left to play and no timeouts to tie the Ellwood City Wolverines (1-1) at 20. With the Apollo-Ridge faithful on their feet, the 5-foot-5 Akins stepped out onto the field and, like a seasoned veteran, kicked perhaps the most important kick in her short football career.
“She’s pretty consistent; she works hard at it; and she’s had a bad knee too,” Apollo- Ridge head coach Jerry Moore said, “Actually my father (Bill Moore) works a lot with her in her kicking.”
After a sluggish first half that ended with the score at 6, the teams came out in the second half primed to attack their opponent’s weaknesses. Apollo-Ridge’s first possession of the second half started with 9:32 left in the third quarter and 90 yards and 11 minutes later, Miller punched the ball in the end zone to take a14-6 lead.
Ellwood City’s character was put to the test as they came back with two scoring drives of its own to take the lead, 20-14, and quiet the Viking crowd. Trailing by six with 2 minutes remaining, junior quarterback Zelonka’s 35- yard pass to fellow junior Chris Stewart got the wheels turning and the fire burning under the hood of Viking fullback Miller as he led the charge and rolled over the Wolverine defense.
“(Miller’s) one of those kids who just takes things on his shoulders. I told him, ‘Jarrod you’re the man,’ and he just stepped up.” Moore said.
And like a scene from a Hollywood movie, Akins delivered the game winner with no time left.