Football - Southmoreland vs Ligonier Valley
Ligonier Valley Tops Southmoreland 27-18 in Regular Season Opener
Visiting Ligonier Valley jumped out to a three-score lead, then held off a Southmoreland comeback effort, as the Rams beat the Scotties 27-18 in their WPIAL regular season opener on Friday, September, 2, at Southmoreland's Russ Grimm Field in Alverton.
Prior to the game, a moment of silence was observed in remembrance of late Southmoreland head coach Ron Frederick, who passed away unexpectedly during the off season. Members of Coach Frederick's family participated in the coin toss and many Southmoreland fans and team members wore shirts remembering their beloved coach.
After Southmoreland won the coin toss and elected to receive, the Scotties offense took the opening kickoff and marched down the field into Ligonier Valley territory. But the drive was cut short when Ligonier Valley's Haden Sierocky intercepted a Kadin Keefer pass at the 10-yard line.
Ligonier Valley took advantage of the turnover by mounting an 11-play, 83-yard drive that took 5 minutes off the clock, culminating with Sierocky carrying into the end zone from 19 yards out. Hunter Carr added the first of three first-half PAT kicks to put the Rams on top 7-0 with 3:48 remaining in the first.
On their next possession, the Scotties failed to cross midfield and gave the Rams great field position when an errant 4th-down punt snap set Ligonier Valley up deep in Southmoreland territory. After the first quarter clock expired and the teams swapped ends, Ligonier Valley had a touchdown negated by a holding call on the first play of the second quarter. But less than a minute later, Broderick Schreyer hit Sierocky with a 9-yard touchdown toss to make the score 14-0 with 11:02 left on the half.
Ligonier Valley went up three scores following Shreyer's 33-yard touchdown pass to Logan Johnston. Carr's kick made the score 21-0 with 2:33 left in the half.
Southmoreland, determined not to be stymied at the half, fought back with a Cameron Phillips kickoff return to the Rams' 15-yard line. Tray Whetsel carried it over the goal line from 1-yard out for a touchdown with 42.9 on the clock, but the Rams blocked the PAT kick to keep the score 21-6.
Ligonier Valley answered immediately with Sierocky taking the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to the Scotties' end zone with 31.1 remaining in the quarter. The PAT attempt failed and the half ended 27-6.
Southmoreland's defense tightened in the second half and they kept the Rams off the scoreboard for the remainder of he game. A pair of Ligonier Valley fumbles, one early in the half and one late, led directly to Southmoreland's remaining two touchdowns.
Following a fumble recovery in the opening minute of the third quarter, Southmoreland drove to the Rams' end zone, capped by a 7-yard Kadin Keefer to Ty Keffer touchdown pass. The 2-point conversion failed and it was 27-12 at the 7:40 mark of the third.
Southmoreland added a final touchdown on Austin Mough's 70-yard return of a Ligonier Valley fumble with 3:20 left in the game. The 2-point conversion failed and Southmoreland set up to kick off to the Rams trailing 27-18.
Southmoreland attempted to kick short but the Rams recovered at their own 36. Sierocky rushed for a first down near midfield, allowing the Rams to run out the clock on the Scotties.
Both teams continue non-conference play with Westmoreland County teams next week. Southmoreland (0-2) will travel to Derry Area and Ligonier Valley (2-0) will host Greensburg Salem at Weller Field.
Watch this link for a full gallery of action photos available for purchase or sharing the day after the game.
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