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Ligonier Valley eases past Bald Eagle, 41-6

| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 12:06 a.m.
Ligonier Valley's Ryan Torrance runs around Bald Eagle Area’s Austin Cowher for his first touchdown on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. S.C. Spangler | For the Tribune-Review

Entering Friday night's Class AA District 6 playoff game, Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel and his team knew all too well about the Rams' long winless playoff stretch.

But after a 41-6 blowout of Bald Eagle Area, the winless streak — dating to 1985 — is over.

The Rams scored on their first possession and never looked back. Senior running back Ryan Torrance stole the show, delivering a bruising 188 yards rushing on 33 carries. He also scored four touchdowns — including the game's first three on runs of 15, 1 and 9 yards.

Ligonier Valley (10-1) defeated Bald Eagle (6-5), 48-6, a week ago, and ironically drew the Eagles in the first round. From the opening kick, it was clear there would be no let down or slow start.

“We worked real hard this week in practice,” Beitel said. “It was very important we maintained the same level of intensity. We knew they (Bald Eagle) were a good football team and would make adjustments. We were able to see what they (adjusted) and respond quickly.”

Bald Eagle was able to move the ball in the first quarter, but was unable to put any points on the board. After its first drive, however, the Ligonier Valley defense gave the Eagles fits the rest of the night. Bald Eagle was held to just 10 net rushing yards, while the Rams amassed 281.

After Torrance's first score, Bald Eagle turned the ball over on downs. Torrance then scored twice more to blow the game open.

The Rams' Alec Brown hauled in two scoring receptions in the second quarter (57 and 6 yards) from quarterback Scott Fennell – giving Ligonier Valley a commanding 34-6 halftime lead. Fennell finished 5 of 9 for 163 yards.

“Our passing game was there in the first half,” Beitel said. “Ryan (Torrance) was running well and it opened things up for us.”

Torrance became the all-time leading rusher in Ligonier Valley history, surpassing 1,400 yards for the season.

“It was a great win for our team tonight,” Torrance said. “We knew coming in we couldn't let down after last week.

“It feels so great to get this win and move on to the next round. I owe my teammates so much for helping me get the record.”

Torrance added his final score mid-way through the final quarter.

“Our offensive line played a great game,” Beitel said. “I'm very proud of the effort from our offense and defense. It's a huge weight off of us to get this win and move to the next round.”

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

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