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Leader Times Q&A: Apollo-Ridge’s Alex Smith

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Eric Felack | Trib Total Media
Apollo-Ridge's Alex Smith is once again expected to be a major contributor to the Vikings success this season, as seen at practice on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014.

Apollo-Ridge has made its way as a run-first style of team this season, but the Vikings also have players who know what to do when the ball is in the air.

Senior receiver/defensive back Alex Smith is one of those players, which he has shown by leading quarterfinal-bound Apollo-Ridge this season with 23 catches for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

Though all three of those totals are down from last season — when he caught 27 balls for 578 yards and eight scores — that is a direct result of the Vikings keeping the ball on the ground more this season.

Smith, who also is a starter for the Vikings’ basketball team, is more than happy to trade his yardage to boost his team’s win total. That total will hit 10 for the first time if the sixth-seeded Vikings can knock off No. 3 Washington on Friday in Latrobe.

Q: You reached the quarterfinals in last year’s playoffs before losing, so how big is Friday’s game with a chance to advance farther?

A: It’s real big because we’re seniors. We don’t want it to be our last game. We’re trying to go farther and get to Heinz Field.

Q: What was the atmosphere like for the playoff game last Friday at Owens Field?

A: It was nice. The whole community was out supporting us, and everyone really wanted that win. It was probably the biggest (home crowd) we’ve had.

Q: Was beating Beaver Falls bigger because of the reputation that teams from Beaver County are much better than teams from this area?

A: It was. We went out and said we had to want it more than they did. We thought they would be a good team, and they were, but we showed we wanted the win more.

Q: How has the passing game changed from Week 1to now with both Duane Brown and Tre Tipton becoming used to the shared quarterback duties?

A: Their passing has been a lot better. In the beginning, it wasn’t as good because they were getting used to (playing quarterback), but it’s definitely come up. We’re mainly a running team, but there are some games where you need to pass, and we can.

Q: You play basketball with many of your teammates, and many also are on the track team. Do you think the amount of time you guys are together through the year helps the football team’s success?

A: Yeah, especially since we have a small school, we all know each other. Between all the sports we play together, it’s like one big family for all of them.

Q: You and many of your teammates were on the school’s 2013 WPIAL semifinalist basketball team. Can the football team make a similar playoff run this year?

A: We definitely can, and we’re all motivated for it this year. We want to get to Heinz Field, and we’re going to go for it.

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