Burrell’s offense shines in season opener

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Saturday, August 24, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Since he took over the Burrell football program last year, coach Shawn Liotta has been waiting for an opportunity to showcase his fast-paced, high-octane offense.

On Friday night, with Central Catholic transfer quarterback Alex Arledge at the helm and a myriad of offensive weapons surrounding him, Liotta finally got his chance as Burrell played longtime rival Valley.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior signal-caller completed 10 of 24 passes for 204 yards and two touchdown passes. Arledge helped showcase what Liotta’s offense can do with the right weapons in a 20-0 victory.

“The way we went out and dominated was pretty incredible,” Arledge said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more from my teammates.”

Arledge used a mixture of passes to move downfield throughout the night. He connected with receivers on short swing passes, slants across the middle and long passes.

After their first offensive drive stalled in Valley territory, the Bucs took the top off of the Vikings’ defense. On the first play of their second drive, Arledge connected with senior wide receiver Seth Fischbach, who caught 4 passes for 109 yards, for a 56-yard touchdown pass.

Arledge threw his second touchdown on a short pass across the middle that senior Zach Miller turned into a 46-yard score.

“When we were running on all cylinders, it was like a knife running through butter,” Liotta said. “It’s the first game of the year, so there are a lot of kinks that we need to work out. But you could see the explosiveness of what we were doing out there, and I thought we did some really good things.”

Once Arledge and the passing game opened up the field, the Bucs’ running game started to thrive. Senior running back Mike Scherer was the key benefactor as he ran for 124 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

“We are gonna take what they are giving us,” Liotta said. “They were obviously worried about the pass. They were trying to stay high over the top after we threw that deep choice route for a touchdown. They started moving those safeties off the hash to try and take it away. So, we saw that and that opened lanes to run.”

The highly-anticipated Burrell offense was explosive, but there is room for improvement. Arledge threw two interceptions, one being a desperation heave as the first half came to a close, and he also missed on passes toward the end of the game.

Although there was a lot of success, Liotta said there were also missed opportunities he believes will get ironed out as the season goes on.

“I thought we missed on some things where we had some touchdown opportunities that were just a hair away from connecting,” Liotta said. “We dropped it, maybe it was a bad read or a bad route, but those things are the things that we are going to clean up.”

In his first start at Burrell, Arledge impressed. He was comfortable in the pocket, showcased a strong arm and displayed the ability to complete a mixture of passes. But he noticed the adjustments that need to be made and said that they will come with time.

“We just have to keep working,” Arledge said. “We just have to keep getting more reps in practice and I think this offense can be very dangerous as we get into the rest of the year.”

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

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