Apollo-Ridge rolls past Leechburg

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 12:18 a.m.

With the season's home stretch looming, Apollo-Ridge couldn't be happier with its present form.

“I'm extremely happy because we actually came out and we were crisp early,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “That's where we need to be.”

A quick-striking offense helped lift Apollo-Ridge to a record-setting win over Eastern Conference opponent Leechburg, 58-13, on Friday night at Owens Field.

No. 5 Apollo-Ridge (3-1, 2-1) broke a school record for points in a game, a mark that stood all of two weeks.

The Vikings scored 56 points against Wilkinsburg on Sept. 7.

The Vikings were led by multi-dimensional quarterback Jesse Zelonka. The senior signal caller helped account for four of Apollo-Ridge's six first-half scores.

Zelonka threw three touchdowns and ran for another.

His opening score was an 86-yard strike to junior receiver Alex Smith. He hit freshman runner Duane Brown and junior tight end Christian Leonarski for the other scores.

“(Zelonka) was dialed in,” Skiba said. “When he's dialed in, he's hard to deal with. He can do a lot of things.”

Zelonka finished with 180 yards on 7-of-11 passing and 114 rushing yards on six carries.

He connected with Smith four times for 116 yards.

Brown, filling in for injured Tre' Tipton, also scored on a run late in the second quarter. Tipton sprained his ankle last week and was listed as day-to-day.

Brown had 57 yards on seven carries. He caught three passes for 60 yards.

“We have a lot of guys. We have a lot of weapons,” Skiba said. “We got things rolling early tonight, and we kept going after it.”

Leechburg (0-4, 0-3) showed better execution than in previous weeks but could not contain a hotter team.

“We gave some plays up we shouldn't have,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “We made some mental mistakes at the beginning of the game. We let some of their people open, which got us down right away.”

Apollo-Ridge scored on all five of its first-half possessions.

“Apollo-Ridge is ranked for a reason,” George said. “They're very good. They're a very skillful team. They play well together and they're very well coached.”

Leechburg scored twice.

Junior back Luke Camp scored in the second quarter on a 1-yard run, and Kris Smith scored in the fourth quarter on a 14-yarder. Smith finished with 63 yards on 12 carries for the Blue Devils.

Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.

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