Apollo-Ridge holds off Carlynton for second straight win
It took Apollo-Ridge several possessions to settle in Friday night in Carnegie.
But the Vikings eventually took advantage of sloppy play by the host Carlynton Cougars and earned an 28-18 win in a Class 2A nonconference game at Honus Wagner Field.
“We do a lot of stupid things to ourselves,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “We like to do things that make it a lot more difficult than we need to, but we got a bunch of young kids. We have a bunch of sophomores playing key positions, so it takes a lot of coaching to get them in a groove, but we finally did and got some things going.”
Carlynton (1-2) turned the ball over eight times, and Apollo-Ridge (2-1) turned four of them into touchdowns as the Vikings won their second straight after a season-opening loss. The Cougars have lost two in a row after a season-opening victory that snapped a 13-game losing skid for the program.
Logan Harmon carried 14 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and Jacob Fello threw for two scores to lead the Vikings.
Apollo-Ridge led by two touchdowns at the half, and Harmon’s 5-yard touchdown run at 8 minutes, 47 seconds pushed the lead to 21-0 when Carlynton fumbled away the kickoff.
“Up until tonight, the turnover ratio was greatly in our favor,” Carlynton coach Scott Yoder said. “Tonight, that was embarrassing. No-huddle, hurry-up, we made mistakes.”
The Cougars refused to go quietly.
Maclaine Greiner dumped the ball off to Brandon Jones in the right flat, and Jones eluded the Vikings defense for a 37-yard scoring reception made it 21-6 at 11:47 in the final quarter.
Turnovers on three consecutive snaps — including two fumbles forced by Carlynton’s Dallas Paolino — gave the Cougars possession near midfield, and Greiner connected with Izaiah Babish on a 14-yard touchdown pass as Carlynton cut the deficit to 21-12.
Harmon added a 31-yard touchdown run with 2:12 to play to make it 28-12, but Will Richardson hauled in a 68-yard touchdown reception to make it 28-18 at 1:53.
“These guys are going to learn every week, and these wins are big for us,” Skiba said. “We battled. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids every week because we’re battling every week, and we’re learning.”
Early on, it appeared like it would be a rout.
Apollo-Ridge opened the scoring after Carlyton’s third turnover when Jacob Fello connected with Alexander Gamble in the right flat for a 13-yard touchdown pass and the Vikings took a 7-0 lead at 10:57 in the second quarter.
The Vikings looked as though they would take one-touchdown advantage into halftime after missing a field goal with 15 seconds to go in the half and giving the Cougars possession at their own 27.
But Carlynton turned it over for a fourth time when Christian Ray was stripped of the football after catching a short pass from Greiner at the Carlynton 25-yard-line.
Fello then connected with Klayton Fitzroy on a 25-yard touchdown pass, and Apollo-Ridge took the 14-0 into halftime.
Greiner finished 11 for 21 passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns for Carlynton.
Jesse Geleynse is a freelance writer.