Burrell, Valley looking forward to another ‘Battle of the Bypass’

Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 9:51 PM

Before last year, Valley had dominated the “Battle of the Bypass” rivalry with Burrell, winning six straight.

But when the airways opened up last season, quarterback Alex Arledge and the Bucs took home their first victory in the rivalry since 2012 with a 20-0 shutout, and they are looking forward to another shot at their crosstown rival.

“The Burrell-Valley rivalry means a lot to a lot of people, and when you win them, it sticks with you for a year,” Burrell coach Shawn Liotta said. “But for us, it’s our first game. We want to start off 1-0 and take everything game by game. First week is Valley again, and it certainly makes it a little more special.”

On Friday, the teams will meet at 7 p.m. at Valley in an Allegheny Seven Conference matchup for the first time since 2017. During the past two years, the teams played in different conferences but decided to keep the rivalry alive with a matchup in Week Zero.

The matchup originally was scheduled as the final game of the year, but the WPIAL’s coronavirus-related schedule changes bumped it up to Week 1.

“I never thought last week (preseason scrimmage) would happen, and now that I know that we’re playing for real, the juices have kicked in and it’s all I can think about,” Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo said. “I had a power outage today, and all I could think about was football.”

Burrell comes into this season looking to replace more than 3,000 yards of offense. Ian Durci is the only player returning who caught a pass last year, and junior Caden DiCaprio will look to fill the shoes of Mikey Scherer, who ran for 1,049 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Despite the loss of several players, the Bucs are feeling confident after a preseason scrimmage with Indiana last week.

“It definitely gave us a good look of who we are as a team this year, especially after losing a lot of players,” Arledge said. “But I think we are really happy with how the scrimmage went, especially playing Indiana, which is a 4A team.”

Last year, the Vikings were still trying to find their identity on offense at the beginning of the season. Cayden Quinn was under center for the first time as a varsity quarterback, and the Vikings lacked experience at most positions.

As the season went on, they started to find a rhythm. So heading into this year, the Vikings bring back talent at the skill positions, including running back Justin Hooper, and Colosimo is hoping they can pick up right where they left off.

“I’m hoping with the newer kids we have, (Justin) Hooper being a year stronger and our quarterback being in his second year, I’m happy with what we have,” Colosimo said. “We’ll get better every week, but a lot of it is going to be on toughness and strength.”

When the teams meet Friday, they will be battling for more than bragging rights as both will look to get their first conference win of the season.

“We weren’t supposed to play them Week 1 at first, but I was excited how the schedule switched, and when I heard we were playing them, I kind of had flashbacks to last year,” Arledge said. “We’ve played them all our lives with our youth program, and as a senior this year, I want this really bad. All our seniors want this really bad.”

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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