Apollo-Ridge makes statement with blowout victory over Washington

Friday, October 30, 2020 | 10:34 PM

After feeling overlooked this year, the No. 4 Apollo-Ridge Vikings were looking to make a statement Friday night at Owens Field when they took on No. 5 Washington in the first round of the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs.

Consider it made.

Washington fumbled on its first three drives, and the Vikings (6-0) capitalized on all three. They built a 21-point lead in the first quarter and cruised to a 42-6 victory to punch their tickets to the semifinals.

“Our kids responded tonight, and I am so happy for these guys and what they’ve went through this year,” Apollo-Ridge coach John Skiba said. “This is what we’ve been building for. This is what we’ve been trying to put together. We’re happy tonight.”

The Vikings will face No. 1 Beaver Falls in the semifinals next Friday.

After Apollo-Ridge’s initial drive stalled out, the Vikings stripped the ball on Washington’s first offensive play. Logan Harmon scored on a 13-yard run four snaps later. Then, five plays after that, Jake Fello found Dom Reiter for a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Four minutes into the game, the Vikings were up 14-0.

The Prexies (5-3) fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Vikings stitched together a three-minute drive that included seven penalties between the teams before Harmon capped it with a 3-yard touchdown run.

“That was big for us,” Harmon said. “We were ready to go. It was on our home field, and we were ready to take it to them.”

With 8 minutes, 25 seconds left in the second quarter, Fello found Reiter for a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-0.

While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense was on a mission from the first whistle. The Vikings held opponents to an average of 10 points per game this season. Only Freeport and Steel Valley scored two touchdowns against them.

Heading into their second playoff game in as many seasons, the Vikings wanted to make an impression on the defensive side.

“We busted our guys’ heads all week long, we told them to go get the ‘cheese,’ and we needed to get fumbles early,” Skiba said. “We told them if we went for it, they’d cough it up and they coughed it up early and often and we took advantage of it. I think that just demoralized them.”

Just before halftime, the Prexies started to gain a rhythm on the offense. Sophomore quarterback Davoun Fuse started getting loose in the pocket and was scrambling for good yardage. With about four minutes left, he put together a drive that took his team into the red zone. But the Vikings forced a turnover on downs.

The Prexies got a touchdown early in the second half, but Harmon and the Vikings running game took over. The senior running back wore Washington down in the second half and scored two more touchdowns, finishing the night with 248 yards on 25 carries.

“When we get Logan moving, that’s kind the key, when he gets churning and gets things moving, we all just jump on and follow,” Skiba said. “That’s the fun part.”

After taking down a good team in Washington, the Vikings have a matchup with the No. 1 team in WPIAL Class 2A as Beaver Falls defeated Western Beaver, 42-14, on Friday.

“This feels great. We feel great, but we are going to keep moving forward as a team,” Harmon said. “This is a really big confidence booster, and we are going to practice hard this week to get ready for next week and we’re going to go get them.”

Listen to an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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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