Ligonier Valley aims to stay healthy, put offensive weapons to good use

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Friday, August 19, 2022 | 12:01 PM


Roger Beitel begins his 19th year as head football coach at Ligonier Valley, and he hopes the 2022 season isn’t as bizarre as 2021.

The fact that Ligonier Valley finished 8-3 and made the WPIAL Class 2A playoffs for the first time is amazing with the amount of injuries the Rams incurred during the season.

After opening the season with wins against Class 3A Indiana and Elizabeth Forward, which led to a 5-0 start, injuries started taking their toll. Quarterback Haden Sierocky was injured in the third game and missed four games.

Safety Ryan Harbert, wide receiver Miles Higgins and running back Nick Beitel all missed action, which forced Beitel to do the unthinkable: forfeit a game for the safety of his team.

“It was the first time in my coaching career I had to deal with that sort of adversity because of injuries,” Beitel said. “It was crazy. I couldn’t field a team.”

Beitel is 140-59 at Ligonier Valley.

The Rams were able to win their final three Allegheny Conference games and qualify for their first WPIAL playoff game. Even though the Rams fell at South Side, Beitel was pleased the team finished strong.

Sierocky returned late in the season as a running quarterback and wide receiver. He excelled at wide receiver, especially against Apollo-Ridge when he caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Broderick Schreyer, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Schreyer and Sierocky are back battling for the position, but Sierocky is an exceptional athlete and can play multiple positions.

“We’re changing our offense to best suit our personnel,” Beitel said. “We have a lot of talent that just needs varsity playing time. We have a lot of talent in our lower two grades.”

Ligonier Valley returns 13 lettermen, which includes four offensive starters and five defensive starters.

Joining Sierocky and Schreyer on offense are tackles Colin Smith and Tylan Wilkins.

Leading the way defensively is senior defensive end Billy Sugden, who had 61 tackles and eight quarterback sacks. Others back are lineman Logan Mulheren, middle linebacker McKinley Shearer, outside linebacker Nick Lonas and Sierocky as a defensive back.

The other lettermen include wide receiver Logan Johnston, running back/defensive back Bruce Krieger, defensive end/guard Mason Mohnkern, fullback/linebacker Duncan Foust and running back John Jablunovsky.

Schreyer finished the season as the starting quarterback, where he completed 51 of 100 passes for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns. Sierocky completed 20 of 34 passes for 388 yards and five touchdowns before he got hurt.

Beitel must find capable backs to run the Wing-T offense that he used, with success, prior to the 2015 season.

“We have a lot of explosive players on the field,” Beitel said. “We want to mix things up and utilize our talent.”

Defensively, Beitel is counting on the defensive line to lead the way with Sugden, Mulheren and Mohnkern along with linebackers Shearer, Lonas and Foust.

“We’re excited about the season,” Beitel said. “We get to renew a rivalry with Derry and many of our games are in Westmoreland County. Getting to play teams in the county is one of the reasons we left District 6.”

The other county matchups on the schedule include nonconference games with Southmoreland and Greensburg Salem and Allegheny Conference games with Burrell and Yough.

Ligonier Valley opens the season at home against Springdale.

Ligonier Valley

Coach: Roger Beitel

2021 record: 8-3, 3-2 in Class 2A Allegheny Conference

All-time record: 475-498-40

SCHEDULE

Date, Opponent, Time

8.26 Springdale, 7

9.2 at Southmoreland, 7

9.9 Greensburg-Salem, 7

9.16 at Apollo-Ridge*, 7

9.23 Steel Valley*, 7

9.30 at Yough*, 7

10.7 at Burrell*, 7

10.14 Serra Catholic*, 7

10.21 at Imani Christian*, 7

10.28 Derry *, 7

*Conference game

STATISTICAL LEADERS

Passing: Broderick Schreyer

51-100, 856 yards, 12 TDs

Rushing: Nick Beitel*

147-873, 9 TDs

Receiving: Matthew Marinchak*

20-397, 8 TDs

*Graduated

FAST FACTS

• When Ligonier Valley plays Greensburg Salem on Sept. 9, it will mark the third time the schools have met on the field. Greensburg, as the school was known then, won the prior meetings in 1928-1929.

• The Rams renew a rivalry with Derry this season. Ligonier Valley and Derry last squared off in 2010 with the Rams winning, 27-14. Prior to that, Ligonier played both Derry Borough and Derry Township. Borough held a 25-12-6 advantage and the Township was 8-3.

• New faces on the schedule include Springdale, Burrell, Imani Christian, Southmoreland and Yough. The Rams did play Scottdale and East Huntingdon, which merged to form Southmoreland, and Sewickley Township, South Huntingdon and West Newton, which merged to form Yough.

• Ligonier Valley is a merger of Ligonier Valley and Laurel Valley in 2010. Both were members of the Ligonier Valley School District.

• The Rams returned to the WPIAL in 2020 after spending 50 years in District 6. The Rams won two District 6 Class AA titles (2016-2017) and made the championship game four-consecutive seasons (2016-2019).

ROSTER

No., Name, Pos., Ht./Wt., Cl.

1, Boden Schreyer, QB/DB, 5-7/134, Fr.

2, Jordan Pape, WR/DB, 5-6/130, Fr.

3, Broderick Schreyer, QB/DB, 5-8/175, Sr.

7, Nick Lonas, RB/DB, 5-11/155, Sr.

8, Duncan Foust, QB/LB, 5-10/161, So.

10, Zach Theys, WR/DB, 5-4/117, So.

11, Brody Stitt, WR/LB, 5-7/156, Fr.

15, Aidan Mulheren, WR/DB, 5-7/128, So.

17, Haden Sierocky, QB/DB, 6-0/176, Sr.

19, Cole Henry, RB/LB, 5-10/146, Fr.

24, Logan Johnston, TE/DB, 5-9/167, Sr.

25, Aaron Dennison, RB/LB, 5-6/141, Fr.

26, Jonathon Constable, WR/DB, 5-3/119, Fr.

28, Jacob Petalino, RB/DB, 5-5/117, Fr.

29, Mark Jablunovsky, WR/DB, 5-9/136, So.

30, James Pleskovitch, TE/DL, 6-3/231, Sr.

32, Bruce Krieger, RB/DB, 5-9/141, Sr.

34, Bryce Vida, RB/LB, 5-7/140, Fr.

35, Kaeleb Wible, WR/DB, 5-4/103, Fr.

36, Connor Faas, RB/LB, 5-8/141, Fr.

40, John Jablunovsky, RB/DB, 5-10/154, So.

44, Maxx Oberley, WR/DB, 5-8/147, So.

50, Mason Mohnkern, OL/DL, 5-11/186, Sr.

53, Drake Simmons, OL/DE, 5-9/156, Fr.

54, Sam Caldwell, OL/DL, 6-0/282, So.

55, Tony Lonas, OL/DL, 5-8/194, Fr.

56, Landen Laskoski, OL/DL, 5-9/182, Sr.

57, Nolan Huba, OL/DL, 5-9/200, Fr.

58, Noah Dunn, OL/DL, 5-10/221, So.

63, Billy Sugden, OL/DL, 6-1/202, Sr.

64, Tyler Pernelli, OL/DL, 5-5/252, Sr.

66, Lucas Krieger, OL/DL, 5-11/183, Fr.

71, Harrison Sheriff, OL/DL, 5-10/250, Jr.

72, Wade Lamont, OL/DL, 5-7/197, So.

74, Noah Glunk, OL/DL, 6-1/254, Jr.

75, Colin Smith, OL/DL, 6-0/245, Sr.

76, Jack Petrof, OL/DL, 5-10/189, Fr.

77, Tylan Wilkins, OL/DL, 5-11/248, Sr.

78, Logan Mulheren, OL/DL, 5-9/185, Sr.

80, Alex Marquis, WR/DB, 5-8/133, So.

81, Levi Moser, TE/DE, 5-10/124, Fr.

82, Cameron Kunkle, TE/DE, 5-11/147, Fr.

83, McKinley Shearer, TE/LB, 5-11/166, Sr.

86, Douglas Keenan, TE/DE, 5-9/141, Fr.

88, Hunter Carr, TE/LB, 5-10/172, So.

Note: Due to publishing scheduling conflicts, the preview for Allegheny Conference team Serra Catholic will appear on Trib HSSN next week.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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