Apollo-Ridge QB Jesse Zelonka shines in victory over Riverview
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Friday was Senior Night at Owens Field, but it was a junior who stole the show in Apollo-Ridge's 49-13 Eastern Conference win over Riverview.
Junior quarterback Jesse Zelonka accounted for five total touchdowns, completed 6 of 7 passes for 197 yards and added 89 yards on the ground, all in the first half.
“It felt amazing to go out there and play our hearts out for our seniors,” Zelonka said. “It's just a great feeling.”
The win kept the Vikings' playoff hopes intact with one week left in the regular season.
Zelonka started his big night on Apollo-Ridge's first play of the game. After the Vikings (5-3, 5-2) forced Riverview to go three and out, Zelonka hit wide receiver Alex Smith in stride for a 60-yard score to make it 7-0.
Three plays after a Riverview fumble, Zelonka called his own number, taking a quarterback draw for a 26-yard touchdown and giving the Vikings a 14-0 lead.
Riverview's Klayton Hayden responded with a 1-yard touchdown plunge to pull the Raiders to within seven, making it 14-7.
Vikings fullback Ben Gemballa ran in from 5 yards out to make the score 21-7 after the first quarter. Gemballa had two rushing touchdowns.
Zelonka hit sophomore wide receiver Tre Tipton on a 10-yard pass to make the score 28-7.
Riverview wouldn't go away, though. Keir Barber's 3-yard touchdown run made the score 28-13.
But, Zelonka squashed the Raiders' comeback hopes when he ran 11 yards for his second touchdown run of the night to make it 35-13.
Zelonka put the game out of reach when he scrambled right and threw back across his body to Tipton, who made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone with no time left.
Neither team scored in the second.
Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said Friday night was proof of his quarterback's maturation over the season.
“Jesse is just much more relaxed,” he said. “He's able to make all of his reads. He understands it all now.”
Zelonka was in for three plays in the second half.
R.A. Monti 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.
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- Storms knock out power to thousands of customers in Western Pa.
- Authorities identify 2 men killed in fiery crash in Pittsburgh
- Pirates notebook: Trade movement confidence booster for Morse
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- Thirsty pit bull turned on Arnold neighbors
- Pitt’s Boyd, Blair suspended for Youngstown State game