Seton-LaSalle’s Train and Defense Overwhelm Apollo-Ridge
Written by: Phil Myers on Sunday, October 1st, 2017
Lionel ‘The Train’ Deanes carried the ball 23 times for 282 yards and three touchdowns to help his Seton-LaSalle Rebels conquer the Apollo-Ridge Vikings 35-21 Friday at Owens Field in Apollo. He found the end zone on runs of 73, 51, and 32 yards. A happy Rebel head coach Rob Carter stated, “He’s the man, he’s the train! I love the kid. He’s the heart of this team right now. I love this team!”
Not to be outdone, the Rebel defense charged into the Viking backfield all night sacking Ridge QB Kyle Fitzroy a whopping 10 times and pressuring him on many more occasions. Apollo-Ridge didn’t lack chances because the Vikings had the ball eight times in Seton-LaSalle territory, only scoring three of those times. On four of those opportunities the Rebels stopped the Vikings on fourth down tries, and the other time a costly holding penalty forced A-R to punt. “We rotated people in to keep the defensive line fresh and gave them (Apollo-Ridge) some weird looks they haven’t seen,” said Carter.
Apollo-Ridge received the opening kickoff and drove 44 yards from their 28 to the LaSalle 28 before the Rebels garnered their first sack of the game on a fourth and three situation. A couple minutes later the Viking defense stuffed Matt Banbury’s quarterback sneak on fourth down at the Rebel 45 to return the favor.
The initial score of the game came after Ridge’s subsequent punt to the Rebel ten. Three plays netted seventeen yards. Then the Train left the station and the Viking defense behind for a 73 yard touchdown jaunt. With that run, the 5’7” 185 lb. Deanes eclipsed the 4,000 career yard mark. That would be it for the Train in the first half as Apollo-Ridge tackled well and held him to a total of six other yards for the rest of the half.
Meanwhile, the gold-shirted Vikings began an early second quarter drive at their 32. Freshman sensation Logan Harmon rambled 26 yards for a first down and a few plays later Kyle Fitzroy put up 25 yards on a running play to get the pigskin to the two. After a five yard penalty and a couple running plays netted nothing, Fitzroy rolled to his right, stopped and threw back to his left to a wide open Alex Gamble for the 7 yard score to tie the game at seven apiece.
The Vikings dodged a bullet when on Seton-LaSalle’s next possession, Deanes fumbled the ball away at the Apollo 25. A couple of minutes later after a change of possession, the home team’s Keighton Reese blocked a Rebel punt with Jacob Clark recovering it at the visitor 40 with 1:11 remaining in the half. But following a 15 yard pass to Gamble, Fitzroy was sacked twice and threw an incompletion to end the second quarter.
Coach Carter said the key to the game was, “We didn’t give up on our game plan (to run the ball), we stuck to it, and continued to do what we do.” So, with a steady dose of running the football (they only threw twice in the second half), the white and green clad Rebels gradually wore down the Vikings. The third quarter saw the Train rumble 51 yards to the end zone on Seton-LaSalle’s second possession to pull ahead 14-7. The very next time they had the ball, Deanes ran 46 yards a few plays before Nistal Baldwin plunged in from a yard out to put Seton up 21-7.
Early in the fourth quarter Harmon capped a 44 yard drive by going 5 yards for the touchdown. A bad snap doomed the PAT and LaSalle led 21-13. But, the bad news for the Vikings was the freshman phenom got hurt on his TD run and did not return. Harmon means as much to the team on defense, as offense since he leads the Apollo-Ridge team in tackles. There was no report on what or how bad the injury was.
Apollo tried an on-sides kick, but Seton’s Luke Banbury scooted 11 yards with the kick to the Viking 39. Then, on the sixth play of the drive Matt Banbury called his own number and found pay dirt on a nice 24 yard scramble giving his team a two score cushion again. Late in the final stanza, the Train chugged in from 32 yards out for his third TD of the game to increase Seton-LaSalle’s lead to 35-13. “The second half, the line was able to push and we had some nice runs,” said Deanes. And finally, with less than a minute to play, Gamble scampered 38 yards to round out the scoring.
Game notes: Seton LaSalle had 405 total yards with 345 of that on the ground. QB Matt Banbury had 62 yards rushing. Josh Blamer (#73) had an outstanding game on defense for the Rebels. For Apollo-Ridge, Harmon picked up 95 yards and Gamble had 86 to lead the way for the Viking ground game. As a team they totaled 266 yards. The Rebels have a pretty good place-kicker in Cullen Vereb. The Vikings’ kicker is a soccer player too and a rarity for football in that she’s a girl. Maycen (May-seen) Anthony is her name and she’s only a sophomore.
Apollo-Ridge starts 4 freshmen and a sophomore. They take their 4-2 record on the road next week to Freeport (4-1) in an important 3A Allegheny League contest. Seton-LaSalle now stands at 5-0 and heads to Deer Lakes to face the winless Lancers. The Rebel band did a very nice job playing hits from the rock group Journey during their halftime show. Then, the Viking band and ensemble did a superb job entertaining the crowd by performing songs from the Phantom of the Opera.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball