A-K Valley H.S. football notebook: Apollo-Ridge continues hot start

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Saturday, September 19, 2020 | 6:44 PM


Through the first two weeks, Apollo-Ridge has looked like a team to be reckoned with in WPIAL Class 2A.

The Vikings are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 92-21, the eighth-highest point total in the WPIAL. A core group of seniors has led the way.

“It’s fun to coach these guys because they’ve been around so much, and they know what they need to do to be successful,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “I get mad at them sometimes for some things, but it’s hard because I know how much they want to work and get things done. It’s a fun year, and hopefully we can finish this off in a good way.”

Seniors Jake Fello, Logan Harmon, Klay Fitzroy and Keighton Reese have played key roles in victories over Ligonier Valley (44-7) and Freeport (48-14). They’ve combined for 1,011 yards of offense and 16 touchdowns. Fello, who plays quarterback, has completed 64% of his passes for 366 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.

Harmon has carried 32 times for 269 yards and five touchdowns after a junior season in which he ran for 1,415 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Defensive effort

Heading into their matchup with No. 2 Mars on Friday, Highlands focused on stopping senior running back Teddy Ruffner.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Ruffner entered the game with more than 3,000 career rushing yards. His first varsity start as a freshman in 2017 came against Highlands, and he finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns.

But the Golden Rams held him to 95 yards on 26 carries in Mars’ 12-7 victory Friday. Ruffner scored the winning touchdown late, but Highlands coach Dom Girardi raved about his team’s effort.

“I don’t think you can ask for any more in a defense, really,” Girardi said. “It was a phenomenal performance.”

Highlands forced Mars to punt four times, tackled Ruffner for a loss eight times and had 13 tackles for loss overall. The Golden Rams also had two interceptions, and Mars quarterback Quinn Fuller completed only four of his 16 passes for a positive gain.

The most important one came on a 39-yard bomb down the left sideline to Anthony Vargo, which set up Ruffner’s game-winning touchdown.

Monday Night Football

On Sept. 1, Kiski Area had to postpone its first two games because of coronavirus exposure. The Cavaliers rescheduled their second game of the season — a matchup with Big East Conference opponent Connellsville — to Monday.

Although playing on a Monday will be strange to Kiski Area coach Sam Albert, it isn’t completely new.

“One year we got rained out on a Friday against McKeesport, and they won the state that year,” Albert said. “We had to play them on a Monday, and we were the only team that beat them that year. Again that was just weird.”

Connellsville lost their opener to Woodland Hills, 60-20, but Albert isn’t overlooking anybody.

“They are a pretty good football team. They are strong up front, and their quarterback is exceptional,” Albert said. “They are a quality football team.”

Almost a spoiler

Knoch looked as though it might spoil Greensburg Salem’s second attempt at win No. 700 this season.

After Keith Washington scored his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter, the Knights took a 12-7 lead into the half. But the Golden Lions forced a fumble on Knoch’s opening drive in the second half, and Hayden Teska found Donovin Waller for a 15-yard touchdown pass to seal the milestone victory.

Tough follow-up

Leechburg shocked the WPIAL in Week 1 when they upset then-No.3 Greensburg Central Catholic, 55-37.

But No. 1 Clairton wasn’t going to be caught off-guard Friday and beat the Blue Devils, 59-14.

The defending WPIAL Class A champion scored 32 points in the first quarter and added another 21 points in the second. The Blue Devils didn’t find the end zone until the third quarter, when Braylan Lovelace scurried for a 3-yard touchdown, his fourth of the season.

The Blue Devils will look to get back on track Friday when they take on Springdale in another WPIAL Class A Eastern Conference matchup.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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