Ridgway football falters against Brockway, 38-14

After a strong first half by Ridgway football, Brockway would pull away in the second half for a 38-14 victory over the Elkers. It took just over a minute and four plays for Brockway to receive the opening kickoff and drive right down the field. Quarterback Alec Shaffer-Doan would culminate the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run on a quarterback bootleg play to put the Rovers up 7-0. Ridgway would drive down the field themselves on their opening drive of the game. Running back Zac McKnight would sprint down the right side for a 33-yard gain. A 15-yard personal foul penalty after the play put the Elkers in the red zone at the 18-yard line. Quarterback Ben MacDonald ran for eight yards on 2nd-and-10 to bring up a 3rd-and-2. Sam Delhunty was stuffed for no gain on third down to bring up a 4th-and-2. MacDonald rolled to his left on a fourth down but threw an incompletion to turn the ball over on downs. Ridgway coach Mark Heindl said the offense came out and played well. "We came out on fire," Heindl said. "They hit those couple big plays and it was 10-0. Our kids did not quit. We were in position a couple times throughout that game and we battled. That's what we've been preaching all year. The final score does not reflect how our team played as a group." The Rovers were able to hit a big play immediately after the turnover on downs as Chad Melillo ran for 72 yards to the Ridgway 18-yard line. Ridgway's defense was able to prevent Brockway from obtaining another first down. Phil Esposito would nail a 36-yard field goal for the Rovers to bump the lead to 10-0. Ridgway would go three-and-out on their next possession. Ridgway would get favorable field possession as Brockway was stuffed on a 4th-and-7 from their own 49-yard line as Shaffer-Doan threw an incomplete pass. Ridgway would turn the ball over on downs after failing to get a first down near midfield.In the second quarter, Shaffer-Doan was sacked on a 4th-and-3 from the Ridgway 10-yard line for an 8-yard loss. Ridgway began to stretch Brockway's secondary out as the first half wore on. MacDonald found wide receiver Cody Delhunty wide open for a 58-yard catch and run setting the Elkers up at the Brockway 22-yard line. The Rover defense would make up for the defensive lapse as Jacob Heigel recovered a McKnight fumble on a third-down play. Brockway would score on its ensuing possession as Shaffer-Doan found sophomore wide receiver Anthony Benson over the middle for a 50-yard touchdown pass. Benson juggled the ball at first but was able to get enough control of it to make the catch for the score. It took Ridgway just over a minute to respond as McKnight would score on an 85-yard touchdown run on a reverse. Running back Logan Wickett handed the ball to McKnight who would take advantage of an overpursuing Brockway defense on a 3rd-and-30 play to put Ridgway on the board. McKnight led the Elkers with 123 yards rushing on 10 carries. "People don't give him as much credit as they should in the AML," Heindl said. "He's probably one of the better backs out there. The kid plays his heart out but he'll tell you that if it wasn't for his offensive line, he wouldn't get anywhere. That's a credit to the type of kids that we have and the type of team that we have." Brockway went three-and-out as the first half drew to a close and Ridgway threatened to make it a 1-score game entering halftime. MacDonald found Delhunty again for a 43-yard catch on the sideline which put Ridgway at the 10-yard line with a first goal. "We say that every week, you have to block to the whistle," Heindl said. "Our offensive line, we're hard on them week in and week out, whether they're young, old, whoever the kids are that are in, they work their tails off and they gave Ben time. You saw what Ben can do when he's got some free time back there. A credit to our receivers, they made some great catches."Brockway was able to damage Ridgway's hope on an intentional grounding call on second down which pushed Ridgway back to the 20-yard line. After an incompletion on third down, McKnight would run for 14 yards but the half drew to a close with Brockway up 17-7. "Brockway was on the ropes. I think they were a little nervous going in there at the half," Heindl said. "A veteran team, Brockway came out and did what they needed to do in the second half. We preach it, week in and week out, we can play with anybody." Ridgway would punt to start the second half after picking up a pair of first downs. The Rovers would only need two plays to add a touchdown to the total as Benson sprinted in from 58 yards for a 24-7 lead. The Elkers turned the ball over on downs after getting a first down on the next possession. Brockway began to work on the clock and drove the ball 13 plays for a touchdown which began to put the game out of reach. Benson culminated the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run which upped the lead to 31-7 for the Rovers. Ridgway fumbled on a bad handoff exchange which would lead to an 11-yard touchdown run from Melillo for a 38-7 lead. "It was the physicality of the game," Heindl said. "It's not an excuse but when you're younger, against kids that are veterans, that are used to winning in their program like they are, they found a way. Our kids did not back down from them. They will battle until the end and they showed that." Ridgway's backups would get a chance for playing time. Backup quarterback John Paul Cerroni found Mike Sorge for a 20-yard touchdown connection to round out the scoring late in the game. Ridgway (1-4) is scheduled to play at Johnsonburg (1-4) next Friday for a 7 p.m. contest. Brockway (5-0) is scheduled to host Curwensville (5-0) next Friday at 7 p.m.NOTES: Abigail Lampman was named as the 2012 Ridgway Area High School Homecoming Queen at halftime. Her escort was Peter Pontzer. Madison Yankovich was second runner-up, she was escorted by Jesse Reynolds. Katie Oknefski was first runner-up, she was escorted by Sam Roselli.