Ligonier Valley runs over Blairsville
Ligonier Valley, in a display of sheer domination, used a punishing ground attack to bury visiting Blairsville in a District 6 Heritage Conference game Friday night.
Ryan Torrance rushed for 229 yards, and Connor Maust added 163 to lead the Rams to a 49-15 rout of the Bobcats, preserving Ligonier Valley's unbeaten record.
Ligonier Valley (3-0, 3-0) took charge at the start, bolting to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and increasing the margin to 28-0 before Blairsville scored a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half.
After Blairsville cut into its deficit on Scott Thompson's 65-yard screen pass to Deion Robinson for a score, Ligonier Valley pulled away from the 28-14 lead with three unanswered scores, two by Torrance on runs of 47 and 5 yards, to put away the Bobcats (2-1, 2-1).
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel said. “What the running backs did speaks for themselves and for what the line did up front. The offensive line got off the ball in a hurry and cleared the way. and the backs did the rest.”
Torrance scored three touchdowns — the other coming in the first quarter on a 3-yard run after quarterback Scott Fennell's 17-yard TD run gave Ligonier Valley a 7-0 lead — and Maust added another score on a 63-yard burst.
“Those guys have good speed,” Beitel said.
Fennell's 25-yard run started the second-quarter onslaught as Ligonier Valley built a 20-0 lead that increased to 28-0, when Fennell found Billy Elliott in the back of the end zone for a 25-yard scoring pass.
“That is a very strong Double-A team,” Blairsville coach Ab Dettorre said of Ligonier Valley, which plays at the Class AA level in the predominant Class A Heritage Conference. “I think they can win the rest of their league games.”
Thompson, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore, put Blairsville on the board with 11 seconds remaining in the first half, scoring on a 4-yard run. He finished with 280 yards passing on 10 of 26 completions and threw one interception. But he was under pressure from the Ligonier Valley defense from the start, scrambling to make a number of throws and taking a slew of hits.
“We did a real nice job on the pass-rush,” Beitel said. “Blairsville has a good, young ballclub. (Robinson, also a sophomore) was impressive. He pulled away from our guys on that touchdown, and not many people pull away from us like that.”
After Ligonier Valley ran up nearly 500 yards of total offense, Dettorre questioned Blairsville's desire to challenge the Rams. He started the criticism by singling himself out.
“I didn't have the team prepared to play football tonight,” he said. “We got outplayed. I got outcoached.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for •Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.