T-D HS Football

Meyersdale throttles Conemaugh Township


DAVIDSVILLE — Meyersdale remained undefeated and Conemaugh Township still is winless after the Red Raiders’ 47-7 victory on Friday night in the WestPAC.
Meyersdale got the scoring started early on its first drive, following up a first down incompletion with an 85-yard touchdown run by senior back Gavin Berkley. Austin Miller’s kick made the score 7-0 midway through the first quarter. Two Meyersdale drives later, Berkley gashed the Indians again for 17 yards, setting up junior Ty Hoover’s 12-yard touchdown run.
“I think that more than anything else, we started from the opening kickoff playing well,” Red Raiders coach Chris Schrock said. “We didn’t necessarily do that the last two weeks but this week were able to go hard from the get go.”
Meyersdale dominated on both sides of the line, with an obvious size advantage over-powering Conemaugh Township in the trenches.
Senior Lance Leydig continued the Raider’s success on the ground, running 51 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback keeper on the opening play of the second quarter, increasing Meyersdale’s lead to three scores.  After Township went three-and-out on the following drive, Leydig led his offense to another score on a seven-play, 34-yard drive capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Cole Clark.
“We have a lot of depth, a lot of guys that we can get in there who have a lot of potential,” Leydig said.
Township came into the game missing starting quarterback Bruno Rosa, who was ruled out earlier in the week with an arm injury. Freshman Jeff Tresnicky was pressed into his first varsity game as a signal caller.
“We didn’t know until Tuesday night, so we spent half the week planning on having him, which made things a little more difficult, but Jeff handled himself real well, heading into his first varsity game,” Township coach Sam Zambanini said. “He didn’t panic and didn’t let nerves get to him.”
Things didn’t get any better for the Indians early on in the game when starting running back and receiver Jake Formica left with an apparent leg injury after ripping off a 16-yard run on one of the first plays of the game.
Formica came back into the game briefly, but was injured again after being intercepted by Meyersdale junior defensive back Brandon Baer on a halfback pass.
“Without Rosa, Jake Formica was a big part of our plans coming in, and losing him didn’t help things.” Zambanini said.
Township struggled finding yards on offense again, with running backs Austin Myers and Kyler Yingling being met with waves of defenders at the line of scrimmage en route to two more Township three-and-outs, before junior back Jason Ritchey closed out first half scoring with a 10-yard touchdown rush, putting the Red Raiders up 34-0 at the break.  
“I think our size advantage was big,” Schrock said. “We’ve got big lineman and big backs, and we are just really quick coming off the ball.”
Clark picked up where he left off in the second half, scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to put Meyersdale up 41-0, enough to invoke the mercy rule and keep the clock running down on the Indian’s chances for a comeback.
“When you have a 31 man roster, you only have so many offensive weapons, and losing one early in the game makes it harder to get going offensively, but I’m really proud of the guys we had out there, ” Zambanini said.
The large lead allowed for Meyersdale to rotate in some fresh players along the line and get some experience for the backups, as Ritchey and sophomore back Anthony McFee handled most of the running duties for the remainder of the game.  Township began to show some life on offense, scoring their lone touchdown on a three yard run by Myers, but their momentum would be short-lived as Clark returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to set the final score at 47 to 7.
“We did well on the ground this week but had a couple miscues in the passing game.  That’s something we wanted to get ready for next week when we play Portage so we could attack them through the air and on the ground,” Leydig said.
Township travels to Chartiers-Houston next week while Meyersdale returns home to face Portage.
“We’ve made marked improvement in every game that we’ve played, but we’re still far from where we need to be if we are going to be able to stay in the game with a very good Portage team next week,” Schrock said.