Apollo-Ridge showed how deep it was in its 27-0 nonconference win over Western Beaver on Friday at Owens Field.
Without star wide receiver and defensive back Tre' Tipton for almost three quarters, the No. 6 Vikings kept rolling.
“We're a resilient group,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “We didn't miss a beat when Tre' went down (with an ankle injury), nor should we.”
Skiba was quick to praise his defense after they surrendered only 198 yards.
Defense was the story of the first half. The only touchdown came in the first quarter on Jonah Casella's 23-yard run. Casella led all rushers with 115 yards on 14 carries.
Tipton was hurt early in the second quarter when he rolled his ankle trying to make a tackle. Tipton spent the second half in street clothes and on crutches. Skiba termed his condition “day-to-day.”
The second half started with a bang for the Vikings (2-1). Freshman Duane Brown returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, making it 12-0. Brown broke a tackle before reversing field and racing for the score.
Apollo-Ridge's defense held Western Beaver (1-2) on the next two possessions before Vikings senior Ben Gemballa took over.
Gemballa scored untouched from 17 yards out, then ran in the two-point conversion to pad the lead to 20-0. Gemballa, who had 60 yards on five carries, capped the scoring with a 43-yard run. Gemballa ran over three defenders before galloping into the end zone.
“We have all these puzzle pieces on offense, and I have to try and fit them in,” Skiba said. “Gemballa is just another example of that. He's big for us on both sides of the ball.”
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.
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