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Rams Sports

Ligonier Valley Wins at Northern Cambria

Varsity vs North Cambria HS on 10/26/2012 7:00:00 PM
Posted Friday, November 09, 2012 by Corey Turcheck

Ligonier Valley ruins Northern Cambria’s shot at Heritage title


NORTHERN CAMBRIA — Before some fans were even comfortable in their seats, Ligonier Valley took a quick 14-0 lead against Northern Cambria in a key Heritage Conference game on Friday night.
That seemed to quiet a home crowd hoping their Northern Cambria Colts would win their first-ever Heritage title with a win.
The Rams’ ground game kept Northern Cambria guessing on defense and led to Ligonier’s 36-26 victory.
Ligonier Valley knew how hard it is to win a conference championship. They won the Heritage just last year and needed a victory over the Colts and some help to successfully defend.
But Penns Manor beat Homer-Center to clinch the Heritage Conference with an 8-1 mark. The Comets’ lone loss was to Northern Cambria in the season opener.
“We were coming in here and we were going to defend our championship all the way until the very end,” Ligonier Valley head coach Roger Beitel said. “We send out that clear vision that this is a heavyweight fight. It’s eight rounds. In round seven, we got knocked down by Penns Manor. We came back fighting and we’re going to fight until the end. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids.”
Ligonier Valley (8-1) received the opening kickoff and made a quick statement to the Colts. They marched 75 yards on four running plays in only 1:39. Senior running back Ryan Torrance ran for 62 yards on the drive, highlighted by a 59-yard run. He finished the drive on a 2-yard run. Maddy Grimm’s extra-point sailed through the uprights for a quick 7-0 lead.
Northern Cambria fumbled on its second play of the game, giving the Rams possession at the Colts’ 12-yard line. Two plays and 40 seconds later, Torrance ran in for a 9-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead just 3:06 into the game.
“You can’t make the mistakes we made tonight against a football team like this (Ligonier Valley),” Northern Cambria head coach Paul Taranto said. “We made these mistakes a lot throughout the season. We’re capable of still beating most teams, Ligonier is not one of them. That’s a good football team. They know how to finish. They get a chance, they’ll step on you and put you away.”
Northern Cambria (6-3) regrouped on its third possession of the game. The Colts benefited from great field position and got back to their strong running game. They ran six consecutive running plays, finished by Nate Zachesky’s 7-yard run. The Colts failed on the first of four two-point conversions, still trailing 14-6 after a long first quarter.
Ligonier Valley answered on its next possession. The Rams traveled 52 yards on seven plays, converting for a 23-yard pass play from quarterback Scott Fennell to Dereck Croyle on a crucial third-and-three. Fennell scored on a 7-yard quarterback sneak. Fennell’s conversion run made it 22-6.
The Colts went back to their running game, running on 15 of the 16 plays on the scoring drive. They converted four third-down conversions and used 8:33 of the second quarter clock. Zachesky scored his second touchdown on the night with a 2-yard dive handoff from wildcat quarterback Dartagnan Suchar. The conversion run failed for a 22-12 halftime score.
Ligonier Valley scored on its first two possessions in the second half.
The first came on a Fennell 6-yard touchdown run. Fennell dropped back to pass, went through his progressions, and took off to his left and just got inside the pylon at the goal line. Grimm’s kick made it 29-12.
The Colts answered right back with their own scoring drive, highlighted by Jeff Hogan’s pass to Suchar for 26 yards. Hogan scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cut the deficit to 29-18.
Ligonier Valley came right back with a 13-play, 70-yard drive, capped by Torrance’s 5-yard trap run for a touchdown to make it 36-18.
Torrance was suspended for last week’s game. He ran with great energy and broke numerous tackles throughout the night. He finished with 33 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
“I was nice and rested,” Torrance said. “I was ready to go, coach gave me the ball and I did what I could, our line came out strong and blocked well up front.”
Northern Cambria finished the scoring with a Zachesky 1-yard run and a Zachesky conversion run. Zachesky finished with 21 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns. The Colts couldn’t come back from the early 14-0 deficit. Two late interceptions ended any hope of a championship comeback, after they forced two Ligonier Valley fumbles.
Fennell had a nice dual-threat night as quarterback. He ran 10 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and went 6 of 11 through the air for 109 yards and an interception.

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