Ricky Cope’s big night leads Selinsgrove over Bellefonte
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, November 18th, 2017
Logan Leiby found a wide open Ricky Cope running down the seam and hit him in stride to put the Seals up 7-3 with 4:29 left in the first quarter. That 53 yard td strike would set the tone at a rain soaked Mansion Park where Selinsgrove earned a shot at Bethlehem Catholic in the PIAA State Quarterfinals, defeating Bellefonte 37-3. Cope ended up with 210 of Leiby’s 238 yards of passing in the game for 3 tds, earning him the WHVL Player of the Game.
Bellefonte started off strong, driving 66 yards to the Seals 13 where Chris Persiko hit the 30 yarder, but the drive was costly. Raider quarterback Dylan Deitrich was injured on the drive and would not return. “That hurt us” said Shannon Maning. ” I’m not giving excuses, Selinsgrove is a heck of a team and they earned the win. We were just pretty banged up.”
Leiby continued to light it up on the next drive, hitting both Cope and running back Joseph Kahn for big gains. Kahn finished that drive with an 11 yard score to make it 14-3 at the 11 minute mark of the second quarter.
The Raiders continued to move the ball with Nick Palosky behind center, getting to the Seals 20, but a fourth down play ended in a 9 yard loss. On the ensuing drive, Leiby once again hit Cope on the same seam route and he was off to the races for a 64 yard td. “It’s un-explainable, the adrenaline you get when you catch the ball and start running, it’s just crazy” said Cope of his long td runs.
The Raiders held the Seals on their next drive to three plays and got the ball at the 45. Palosky rans several times getting his team within field goal range again, but Clayton Sheesly blocked the attempt just before the half. Bellefonte reached the red zone 3 times and came up empty during the game.
If things weren’t bad enough for Bellefonte, the opening drive of the second half also ended inside the Seals red zone. Their defense held tough agains on the next drive, but Bellefonte once again was unable to convert. The walls then came tumbling down when Selinsgrove punted early in the fourth quarter, pinning the Raiders at the one. Blaize Zeiters busted through the line and registered a safety making it 23-3 with 9:39 left in the game. Cope and Leiby would finish out the scoring, Cope hauling in a 44 yard td pass and Leiby with a five yard run. “Gotta give it to Cope and the line for playing a great game” said Leiby.
Kahn ended the game with 138 yards on the ground and the one score. “We definitely gave up some yards. We preached bend but don’t break” said Seals head coach Dave Hess. “Early in the year we struggled to run, but it’s been a stress of ours to run the ball.”
Coverage today was brought to you by Bonfatto’s wing sauces and Marinade, voted the “Best Hot Sauce” by the readers of State College Magazine for the second year in a row.
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