Sam Sheeder excited to return as Ligonier Valley quarterback

Friday, August 16, 2019 | 9:13 PM

Wally Pipp was the New York Yankees starting first baseman in 1925.

As the story goes, he told his manager he had a headache and missed a game.

Yankees manager Miller Huggins inserted a little-known slugger named Lou Gehrig, and Pipp never started for the team again.

At least Ligonier Valley senior Sam Sheeder gets a second chance at being the Rams quarterback.

Sheeder was the starter when the season began in 2017, his sophomore season.

But four games into the season at Penns Manor, Sheeder’s year ended with a knee injury. Enter junior John Caldwell.

While Sheeder recovered from knee surgery, Caldwell led the Rams to the Heritage Conference, Appalachian Bowl and PIAA District 6 Class 2A titles.

Last fall, Caldwell continued to quarterback the Rams, and Sheeder was used at different spots, including running back and wide receiver. The Rams reached the District 6 final again, Caldwell had a record-breaking season and Sheeder contributed in other ways.

“I didn’t care where I played,” Sheeder said. “They needed my help at wide receiver, and I went out and did my job.”

Sheeder caught 47 passes for 743 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He was second on the team to all-state receiver Aaron Tutino. Sheeder also rushed for 356 yards and scored seven touchdowns.

“I’m really excited to be back at quarterback,” Sheeder said. “I never played quarterback until my sophomore season, but I fell in love with it really quick and I really love this offense and the job the quarterback plays in it.”

After Sheeder’s injury, Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel adjusted the offense to suit Caldwell. Now the offense has been switched back for Sheeder.

“Sam did what we asked him to do last season,” Beitel said. “We’re excited to see him work.”

Sheeder completed 19 of 27 passes for 327 yards and five touchdowns before getting hurt in 2017. Last year, he completed 7 of 10 passes for 29 yards and a score.

With senior running back Kyrie Miller returning after rushing for 1,561 yards and 23 touchdowns, senior fullback Ayden Kelley back after rushing for 174 yards and four scores, and a massive offensive line, look for the Rams to run the ball a lot.

If Kyle Silk is ruled eligible by the PIAA after his transfer was denied by District 6, the Rams would have another quarterback/running back. Silk rushed for 1,501 yards at United in 2018.

Sheeder said he learned a lot from Jackson Daugherty, who also was used at quarterback after Sheeder was injured.

“Jackson taught me to look at the coverage and see what was available,” Sheeder said. “A lot of times you run the ball.

“We adapt our offense to the type of players we have. We have a lot of talent.”

What are Sheeder’s concerns?

“As a quarterback, you have to take care of the football,” Sheeder said. “It’s your job to keep your team on top momentum-wise. You can’t give up the ball because that gives your offense confidence.”

And if he does that and gets the Rams into the end zone, another big season could be in store in the Ligonier Valley.

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


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