Alert play lifts Riverview to win over Leechburg
TribLIVE Sports Videos
A little deception by Riverview's Tim Wagner went a long way Saturday afternoon.With the Raiders trailing in the fourth period, Wagner let a Leechburg punt bounce and appeared content to let Blue Devils defenders down the ball.Instead, Wagner suddenly picked up the ball at his 45 and raced to the Leechburg 25, setting up a short scoring drive that allowed Riverview to take the lead for good as the Raiders eventually defeated Leechburg, 27-19, at Riverside Park.
The Blue Devils had just stopped Riverview at their 3 moments earlier.“I was yelling, ‘Let it go, let it go,' ” Riverview coach Todd Massack said. “Then once he got it, I was yelling, ‘Go, go, go!' Normally we tell the guys to stay away from the ball. In that case, all right, we'll take it.”
“I saw it bouncing, and I had a lot of room in front of me,” Wagner said. “I thought if I could get a good bounce, I might take it. The third bounce, I thought it was now or never.”
“We tell these young men all the time, you can't ease up out there, even for a couple of seconds,” Blue Devils coach Mark George said.
Leechburg was leading, 19-13, at that point after a 30-yard fumble recovery return by sophomore tackle Jordan Cominos.
Riverview took the kickoff and drove to the Leechburg 1, aided by three Blue Devils penalties. On fourth down, Raiders quarterback Jason Anthony bobbled the snap, and Leechburg broke through and took over at the 3.
“I thought we had some pretty good plays on defense throughout the day,” George said. “It's just that in the second half, we couldn't string enough together. But I'm proud of the way they played.”
On the second play following Wagner's unexpected punt return, Tyler Nigro passed to senior wide receiver Klayton Hayden for a 23-yard touchdown with 7:45 left.
After another Leechburg punt, Vinnie Piccolino added an insurance touchdown with 2:05 to go to put the Raiders in front by eight points.
Leechburg didn't pick up a first down in the second half until there was 7:20 left in the fourth period.
Things were different in the first half. Leechburg moved the ball well with three sustained offensive drives — two resulting in touchdowns by Kris Smith and Joe Strellec — and another that advanced to the Riverview 7 before the Raiders held. Strellec had 98 yards rushing.
“There were different parts of the game where you can have the analogy of two boxers in the ring.,” Massack said. “There's going to be ups and downs, but you've just got to keep fighting through those things, and that's how the game went.”
Piccolino had 152 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
“Vinnie's nickname is Bulldog,” Massack said. “There's a reason; he's a tough kid. He does a great job for us offensively and defensively. “
Riverview (2-5, 2-4) leads the all-time series against Leechburg, 26-8-2. The loss eliminated Leechburg (1-6, 1-5) from the WPIAL playoff race.
The Raiders play at Apollo-Ridge on Friday. Leechburg is at home against West Shamokin.
George Guido is a freelance writer
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers will make small strides this season
- Not to be left behind, speedy Steelers are on the fast track in NFL
- Steelers have plenty of new faces at wide receiver
- Starkey: Bucs still battlin’
- WPIAL coaches, QBs have concerns about using newly-approved footballs
- Reputed leader of motorcycle gang returned to Pa. to face charges
- Why Steelers will — or won’t — snap out of their funk
- In last preseason game, a final audition for some Steelers
- Freshman Jaden Dietz will start at cornerback for Southmoreland
- Newsmaker: George J. Zimmerman
- Wounded man found in store parking lot in North Side