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Football

First-half interception sparks Beaver Falls to win over Apollo-Ridge

| Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, 10:12 p.m.

Apollo-Ridge was moving the ball and looked as if it would cut its deficit in half heading into halftime.

But that changed in one minute.

Beaver Falls' Derrell Carter intercepted a pass at the goal line, and the Tigers drove 92 yards in a minute, scoring a touchdown as time expired in the first half when Austin French hit Dayln Brickner with a 7-yard strike.

The Class 3A No. 3 Tigers went on win 40-14 on Friday at Apollo's Owens Field.

“We had to get off the mat last week from last week's (loss to Aliquippa),” Beaver Falls coach Ryan Matsook said. “Coming down to Apollo-Ridge, we knew they were going to fight, and we got what we expected.

“I was proud of those two pivotal plays — the interception and the touchdown at the end of the half — how the kids responded and their maturity level.”

Carter and Torian Leak had two touchdowns each for the Tigers, and Neshaud Akins rushed for a game-high 125 yards on 13 carries.

The Vikings stopped Beaver Falls short twice on fourth-down plays in the second quarter and looked poised to close an early 14-0 hole but could not score.

Before the buzzer-beating touchdown, which put the Tigers (1-1) up 21-0 at halftime, Apollo-Ridge quarterback Kyle Fitzroy led the Vikings inside the Beaver Falls' 20 with four straight completions before Carter's interception.

“Kyle does some really good things at times, but we have to get some consistency making reads,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said.

Apollo-Ridge (1-2) had another opportunity to score early in the second quarter when they had fourth-and-goal at the 3, but a false start backed them up 5 yards. Fitzroy was sacked on the next play.

Apollo-Ridge scored two TDs in the fourth quarter — a 37-yard pass from Fitzroy to Daylon Wells and a 17-yard run by Cade Grguric.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.

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