Ligonier Valley beats back Blairsville
The Ligonier Valley Rams football team used its trap offense to remain unbeaten with a convincing 49-15 victory over the visiting Blairsville Bobcats at Weller Field last Friday.
The Bobcats, however, were able to use their high-powered passing attack to become the first team to score on the Rams this season.
Ligonier Valley received the opening kickoff and methodically moved down the field. The biggest plays in the series were the first, a 25-yard run up the middle by fullback Ryan Torrance, and the last, a 17-yard touchdown run around the left end by quarterback Scott Fennell.
Maddy Grimm kicked the extra point to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead at the 8:55 mark of the first quarter.
After a 15-yard kickoff return by Deion Robinson to the Blairsville 15, the Bobcats were not able to move the ball. An 11-yard Blairsville punt put Ligonier Valley back in business on the Bobcat 36.
A Lucas Palmer sack put the Rams in a third and 14 situation, but Fennell was able to convert with a pass to a sliding Connor Maust. Two plays later, Maust followed that up with a 14-yard run to the right. Then, two plays further into the drive, Torrance cut into the end zone from the 3. Grimm's kick made it 14-0, still in the first quarter.
Blairsville took over on the 20 after Alec Bloom's kickoff rolled into the end zone. On second and five from the 25, Bobcat quarterback Scott Thompson lofted a pass just over the fingertips of defender Maust and just into the fingertips of receiver Colton McMillen for a 43-yard gain. But the drive stalled after two consecutive Stuart Urch sacks for Ligonier Valley, which then took over on its own 36.
The Rams couldn't get much going, however, and Billy Elliott's punt fell dead at the Blairsville 9 for the Bobcats to start again. Robinson broke free for two nice gainers in a row, moving the ball out to the 30. Later, from the 40, Thompson completed a 20-yard pass to McMillen, but Maust forced a fumble after the completion to return the ball to Ligonier Valley.
From the Rams 40, Fennell and Torrance alternated running plays, the series ending with a 25-yard touchdown run by Torrance. The kick was blocked and the score was 20-0 with 6:17 left in the first half.
McMillen returned the kickoff to the 30 and the Bobcats moved the ball to near midfield before another turnover, this one an interception by Fennell, ended the Blairsville possession.
The Rams took over on their own 25 but quickly reversed the field when Maust started off right and then crossed the field left for a 50-yard run. Two plays later, Fennell found Elliott in the back of the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Fennell ran in the two-point conversion to put Ligonier Valley up 28-0.
But, with 2:20 left in the second quarter, Blairsville put its offense back into motion immediately. Scott Thompson opened with a pass to Cameron Livingston that was good for 41 yards. The Bobcats quarterback also completed two passes to his brother, Bobby Thompson, the second one advancing Blairsville to the Rams 4-yard line.
From there, Scott Thompson ran it in for a touchdown with 11 seconds left until halftime. Scott Thompson also ran in the two-point conversion on a fake kick to make it 28-8 at the half.
Both teams had to punt to open the third quarter. Blairsville then got the ball at its own 21 to begin its second drive of the third quarter. A pass to McMillen advanced the ball to the 35. Scott Thompson then completed a screen pass 6 yards out to Robinson in the left-side flat. From that point, Robinson outran the defense to finish off a 65-yard touchdown completion. The kick after made it 28-15 with 6:26 to go in the third quarter.
But Ligonier Valley answered immediately with a single play nearly as long. Maust took the handoff on his own 37 and outran the Blairsville defense down the right side. Grimm's kick extend the Rams lead back to 20 points just 15 seconds after the Bobcats had scored.
Blairsville started to move the ball after receiving the kickoff but fumbled the ball after a pass completion. Levi Gaynor recovered for the Rams, who took over near midfield. On third and three from the Bobcats 47, Torrance took a pitch right, cut through a gap and sped the rest of the way for the score. Grimm's kick was good, and the home team led 42-15 late in the third quarter.
Blairsville turned the ball over on downs on each of its next two drives, between which Ligonier Valley had fumbled the ball. The Rams then put together a 67-yard, time-consuming drive in the final quarter that ended with a 5-yard Torrance touchdown. Grimm's kick set the final score at 48-15.
The Rams remain undefeated at 3-0, tied with Homer-Center atop the Heritage Conference.
This week, Ligonier Valley travels to Marion Center. The Bobcats, who suffered their first loss and dropped to 2-1, will play at Northern Cambria.