Apollo-Ridge preps for playoffs by thumping West Shamokin
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Already assured its first playoff berth since 2007, Apollo-Ridge used Week 9 as a postseason tuneup, rolling past West Shamokin for a 49-7 victory Friday night at Jack E. Boyer Field.
The Vikings (6-3, 6-2) racked up 492 yards, and the game featured a running clock in the second half because of the mercy rule.
“This is a lot of fun,” Gatorade-soaked Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “I'm so happy for these kids after all they've been through the last couple of seasons. I think we're peaking at the right time.”
Vikings receiver Jonah Casella started the scoring when he took a handoff 89 yards — right up the gut of the defense — to make it 6-0 after one quarter.
Casella, better known for his stellar defensive play, was the game's leading rusher, totalling 152 yards on two carries and scoring touchdowns on each rush.
Vikings quarterback Jesse Zelonka rolled right and found receiver Alex Smith for a 9-yard score. Ben Gemballa's two-point conversion made the score 14-0.
Zelonka then found Tre Tipton for a 20-yard score. Tipton's two-point run made it 22-0.
On West Shamokin's next play, Tipton made the first of his two interceptions. Keeping with the theme, Zelonka took the next snap 61 yards untouched to make the score 28-0 at halftime.
Skiba praised Tipton, who had 128 receiving yards and two touchdowns, for his defensive efforts.
“He doesn't get noticed often because no one ever throws his way,” Skiba said.
Casella's 63-yard touchdown run opened the second-half scoring and gave the Vikings a 35-0 lead.
The outcome was already decided when Zelonka hit Tipton on a slant. Tipton turned up the field and out-raced everyone for a 50-yard score to make it 42-0.
Zelonka continued his monster junior season by rushing for 95 yards on eight carries and throwing for 193 yards.
He finished the regular season with 1,273 passing yards and 16 touchdowns while leading an offense that averaged 30 points.
The Wolves' Andrew Wingard scored from 8 yards to end the shutout bid. Wingard led the Wolves (2-7, 2-6) with 116 yards on 18 carries.
Skiba said he doesn't expect the Eastern Conference to get much love from the WPIAL playoff pairings committee.
“I don't think any of the teams in our conference will be seeded too high,” he said. “But that's OK. Everyone comes into the playoffs 0-0.”
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.
- Ferrante defense’s opening statement points to wife’s symptoms
- Student arrested at Shaler High School in roundup of 35 Allegheny County drug dealers
- Level Green man receives WWII medals
- Yough girls advance with overtime win
- New movie studio coming to McKees Rocks
- Public’s help sought in identifying male remains found in Pittsburgh
- Tom Wolf to visit Leechburg on Saturday
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Woman taken into custody for fatal stabbing of male companion in Duquesne
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- Laurel Mountain ski plan needs more information, planners say