Monessen rolls over Apollo-Ridge
Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said before Friday's WPIAL Class A first-round playoff game that Monessen had so many skilled players for his team to worry about.
And Monessen coach Andy Pacak unleashed those skills as the Greyhounds rolled to a 48-19 win.
“They just have so many weapons; it's hard to contain them all,” Skiba said. “I mean, that's a really good football team they have there.”
The Greyhounds (9-1) scored on five of their seven first-half possessions, taking a commanding, 35-12 lead, and they never looked back against the Vikings (6-4).
Chavas Rawlins completed 7 of 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished 11 of 27 for 174 yards and also rushed for three touchdowns.
Irvin Green caught three passes for 73 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown. Clintell Gillaspie carried the ball 14 times for 129 yards and a touchdown, and teammate Keith Davis had 86 yards rushing on 10 carries and added a touchdown.
“I was really pleased with how we came out, especially offensively,” Pacak said. “That's how you want to come out of the gate.”
On the game's first play, Rawlins hit Green on a 40-yard fly pattern to the Apollo-Ridge 25-yard line, and two plays later, Rawlins skirted the right end 13 yards to put Monessen on top, 6-0, less than two minutes into the game.
The Vikings answered with a 54-yard drive, culminated with a 13-yard catch in the end zone by Tre Tipton on a pass from Jesse Zelonka on fourth-and-3.
The Greyhounds took the lead for good later in the first quarter as Rawlins passed to Green from 15 yards out and then he hit Gillaspie for the two-pointer to make the score 14-6.
Then came a big turning point, Alex Piccarelli's line-drive kickoff hit an Apollo-Ridge player, and the Greyhounds recovered near midfield. Rawlins immediately hit Green for 23 yards and later completed a pass to Gillaspie for 13 yards to the Vikings' 2, where Justice Rawlins scored to make the score 21-6 on the final play of the first quarter.
“That kickoff hurt us. But really, they just had too many weapons, and we are such a young team,” Skiba said. “I'm not sure it made that much of a difference.”
Apollo-Ridge closed the gap to 21-12 on an 80-yard scoring pass from Zelonka to Tipton, who caught five passes for 155 yards.
But the Greyhounds tacked on two more scores before halftime on 1-yard plunges by Rawlins and Davis to make the score 35-12.
In the second half, Justice Rawlins picked off Zelonka on the first play, and the Greyhounds turned that into a nine-play, 40-yard drive culminated by Rawlins' third touchdown — a 3-yard run to make the score 41-12.
A 1-yard plunge by Gillaspie with 9:39 left put Monessen ahead, 48-12, and started the mercy rule.
The Vikings added a score on a 27-yard pass from Zelonka to Alex Smith, but it was too late.
“I'm happy with what we did tonight,” Pacak said. “But we got a couple of kids nicked up, and we don't have the numbers to deal with that. But we will see how they are next week.”
Jeff Oliver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.