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Apollo-Ridge beats Shady Side

APOLLO: When a team outgains another by a 2-1 margin, holds the opposition to three first downs on the night and dominates the line of scrimmage and time of possession, it expects to have a substantial edge on the scoreboard.

Tell that to the Apollo-Ridge Vikings.

The Vikings (4-1, 3-0 Greater Allegheny Conference) dominated Shady Side Academy (2-3, 1-2) in all those categories, yet still had to hold on for dear life for a 19-13 homecoming win Friday over the Shady Side Academy Indians at Owens Field.

Apollo-Ridge, which outgained Shady Side Academy by almost 200 yards on the ground, got 130 yards and two touchdowns from Jarrod Miller and a 71-yard, one-touchdown performance from Frank Colwell to overcome two long touchdown passes from Shady Side Academy quarterback Brody Nasse.

“We didn’t play well tonight,” said Apollo-Ridge coach Jerry Moore. “The kids are disappointed.”

The Vikings thoroughly dominated the first quarter, limiting the Indians to one three play-and-out series that netted negative yards, but they could come away with only a 7-0 lead.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the Shady Side Academy 4-yard-line derailed the Vikings’ opening drive before Colwell got Apollo-Ridge on the board with a 2-yard run with six seconds left in the first quarter.

The Vikings were able to exploit the Indians’ defense using Colwell and Chris Stewart on halfback trap plays consistently throughout the game. Combined with Miller’s power rushes up the middle, the Vikings offense attempted only five passes in the game.

“Frank is a good running back for us,” Moore said. “He played hard tonight. We have used the halfback trap against (Shady Side) in the past, so we worked it into the game plan.”

The Indians, despite having the ball for less than five minutes in the first half, got on the board when Nasse hooked up with Phelipe Johnson on a screen pass, and Johnson weaved his way through the Apollo-Ridge defense for a 48-yard touchdown run.

Nasse was stopped short on the two-point conversion try, and the Vikings held a 7-6 advantage at halftime.

Apollo-Ridge continued to chew up the clock and chunks of yardage in the second half, using Miller up the middle and Colwell around the end to keep Shady Side Academy off balance.

Miller added fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 5 and 6 yards to hand the Vikings a 19-6 lead with seven minutes to play.

But, after a 34-yard kickoff return from Brian Deal, the Indians put together their only sustained drive of the night — a single first down and a 31-yard scoring strike from Nasse to Brian Deal, who outmanuevered a fallen opponent and walked into the end zone.

On the ensuing possession, facing third-and-three from the Shady Side 43, Miller broke a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and rumbled for 4 yards to keep the drive alive and allow Apollo-Ridge to run out the clock.

Shady Side Academy coach John Cappa was succinct in his assessment of his team’s anemic offense.

“Our kids don’t have confidence in the running game,” he said. “We don’t believe we can run the ball, so we can’t. We were able to get guys open in the passing game, but then we’d drop the balls.

“We have a tough homecoming game (next) Saturday against a good Ford City team. Our goal is to win the game … and catch some passes.”

Apollo-Ridge will travel to Freeport next Friday.


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