Alle-Kiski Valley football notebook: No place like home for Apollo-Ridge

Saturday, October 19, 2019 | 11:11 PM

Apollo-Ridge could have clinched a home first-round playoff game last week against Steel Valley, but the Vikings were upset by the Ironmen.

Everything turned out in the Vikings’ favor Friday as they secured that home game and second place in the 2A Allegheny Conference when Shady Side Academy lost to East Allegheny.

“It just feels good to know we will get one more game at Owens Field,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said.

The Vikings (7-2) will host a playoff game for the first time since 2014.

Positive vibes also came from a 27-19 nonconference victory over Freedom, which came in with one loss.

Logan Harmon rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and Keighton Reese and Nick Curci added receiving scores from Klay Fitzroy, who threw for 55 yards and ran for 42 more on 13 carries.

“It was a very good win. Just being at home was good,” said Skiba, whose team had not played a home game since Sept. 6. “The kids were excited, and they played well. We got after it for 48 minutes.”

Down to the wire

It all comes down to the final week of the regular season for several Alle-Kiski Valley playoff hopefuls.

Burrell, 4-3 and in fourth place in the Class 3A Big East Conference, is in with a win over Derry (6-1) on Friday. The Bucs also clinch with a Mt. Pleasant (3-4) loss to Uniontown (0-7).

Deer Lakes (3-4) also is alive, and the Lancers face conference champion North Catholic (7-0) on Friday.

Kiski Area qualified in Class 5A with its 10-7 Northern Conference win over Mars, and Fox Chapel can clinch in Week 9 with a win over Shaler.

Five Northern Conference teams — Mars (3-3), Kiski Area (3-3), Fox Chapel (3-3), Shaler (2-4) and Hampton (2-4) — are bunched up between third and seventh place.

Knoch (4-3) has a heartbeat in the 4A Northwest 8, but the Knights need help in the form of losses by New Castle (3-3) against Ambridge (0-6) and Blackhawk (4-2) against Beaver (1-5).

Getting his kicks, again

Reed Martin showed a strong leg with a 47-yard field goal against Penn-Trafford on Sept. 27.

The kick by the Plum junior was the third-longest in program history.

On Friday against Belle Vernon, Martin raised the bar.

He crushed a 51-yarder in the first quarter, and the boot tied the school record set by Jake Chapla in 2015.

“Reed Martin showing that Plum really is KickerU,” Chapla posted on Twitter shortly after Martin’s kick.

Chapla now is kicking his way through a record-setting season at Slippery Rock.

The record list also includes a 48-yarder delivered by former NFL All-Pro Pat McAfee in 2003.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to show what I can do,” Martin said. “It makes me feel good and feel welcomed when those guys take notice.”

Thimons shows mettle

Highlands freshman quarterback Chandler Thimons has grown throughout the season, and he had one of his better performances Friday in the Golden Rams’ dramatic 28-22 overtime win over New Castle.

Thimons threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns: two to senior Johnny Crise and the winning 10-yarder to junior D.J. Loveland in the extra session.

Over the past two games, Thimons has 393 yards and five touchdowns.

“Chandler really showed poise in a number of situations (Friday),” Highlands coach Dom Girardi said. “He’s developed a better grasp and command of the offense. It’s not just about him executing his job. He’s done a good job of getting everyone in position and doing what they’re supposed to do. He’s not 100 percent there yet. He’s still a freshman. But he’s come a long way.”

Thimons has accumulated 1,191 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games for Highlands (3-6), which closes out its season Friday against Latrobe.

Eclipsing 2,000

Burrell’s Alex Arledge and Deer Lakes’ Aris Hasley each surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for passing.

Arledge threw five touchdowns and finshed with 438 yards — 201 going to Seth Fischbach on eight receptions — in a 58-34 win at Waynesburg, and he now has 2,103 yards and 23 touchdowns for the season.

Hasley passed for 232 yards in a 42-0 setback to Derry, giving him 2,088 overall to go along with 21 touchdowns.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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