High School Sports

District 6 Class AA Football Playoffs: Ligonier Valley ousts Bald Eagle Area

LIGONIER — Just like in last week's non-conference game, Ligonier Valley knocked the wind out of Bald Eagle Area early and didn’t look back.

A week removed from getting blown out by the Rams, Bald Eagle Area fell behind 34-0 in the first half and never recovered, getting outgained 444-224 and suffering a 41-6 loss in the quarterfinal round of the District 6 Class AA football playoffs at Weller Field on Friday.

Bald Eagle Area, which finished fourth in the Mountain League and had its first winning season since 1993, finished with a 6-5 record.

“I thought the guys prepared well but we came out a little flat in the first half,” Bald Eagle Area coach Jack Tobias said. “We came out in the second half and actually played football. It was a little different than the first half. I wish we would have started the game the way we finished it up, but you’ve got to play four quarters. Consistency definitely hurt us.”

It took the Rams just six plays to march 58 yards for a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Running back Ryan Torrance ran the ball on five of the Rams’ six plays on the drive, picking up 53 yards, including 15 yards for a touchdown on a second-and-seven with 9:11 left in the first quarter.

The Rams drove 77 yards on nine plays on their next drive to extend their lead to 14-0. Running back Dereck Croyle kindled the drive by reeling on a 38-yard run on a second-and-nine at the Rams’ 41. Four plays later, Torrance bounced off a tackler and fell into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown with 3:08 left in the first quarter.

“That was important for us because we played them last week, and to be quite honest, we weren’t sure what they were going to do in terms of their adjustments,” Ligonier Valley coach Roger Beitel said. “We saw the adjustment, which was to go to a five-man front with a zero coverage again. That sort of opened up the passing game, but our offensive line came out and picked up where they left off last week with their physical play.”

Fennell ignited another scoring drive on the Rams’ next possession when he fired a pass to Levi Gaynor for a 29-yard gain on a third-and-nine at his own 48. Torrance scored from nine yards out three plays later to make it 21-0 with 8:03 left in the first half.

Fennell hit Alec Bloom for a 57-yard touchdown on the second play of the Rams’ next drive to make it 28-0 with 5:07 left in the first half.

Fennell then connected with Bloom again for a score, this time from six yards with 30 seconds left in the first half to make it 34-0.

Bald Eagle Area, which didn’t get a rushing first down until late in the third quarter, scored its lone touchdown of the game on a hook-and-ladder play with 1:52 to go in the third.

Quarterback Cole Long fired an eight-yard pass to receiver Jonathon Romine, who immediately turned and pitched a lateral to a streaking Bryan Greene. Greene took Romine’s lateral and raced 66 yards untouched into the end zone for a touchdown to make it 41-6.

Torrance scored a three-yard touchdown with 7:54 left in the game to give the Rams a 41-6 lead.

Torrance finished with 189 yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries.

Long completed 13 of 122 passes for 146 yards and two interceptions. Romine had eight catches for 77 yards.