The Elk County Catholic Crusaders spoiled the Ridgway Elkersâ€™ Senior Night by handing them a 41-0 setback on Friday at the Ridgway Area High School. The Crusaders rebounded from back-to-back losses to Brockway and Curwensville to play a very solid game on Friday against the Elkers.
â€śI feel that the way we practiced this week was the key to tonightâ€™s win,â€ť said Travis Skrzypek, head coach of the Crusaders. â€śWe worked hard all week long in practice and as a result, we responded well in the game situations tonight.
â€śThis was a nice way for us to go into the playoffs, but once the playoff starts itâ€™s a new season, as you advance if you win and are out if you lose,â€ť added the coach. â€śI felt that our offensive and defensive line play tonight was much better than it had been in the previous two games. Our defensive line was led by the play of Zac (Brody) and Dave (Bojalad). They played really well out of their defensive end slots.â€ť
Offensively, the Crusaders were led by the running of Ricky Pearsall, who finished the night with 189 yards on just 12 carries and two touchdowns on runs of 60 and 45 yards. Quarterback Kyle Schneider also had a good game for the Crusaders, throwing for two touchdowns. On the receiving end of the touchdowns were Dave Bojalad, who caught a 41-yarder, and Josh Gebauer with a 40-yarder.
Elk used six other running backs in the game last evening , with Brock McCullough getting 32 yards, Sam Schneider 14, Ben Cortina 16, Hank Cappiello10 and Joe Georgino two yards. Shaun Chiesa lost one yard.
Ridgway was led in the rushing department by DJ Skraba with 27 yards, Alex Dickant with 19 and Mike Cappiello with one yard.
Elk Catholicâ€™s entire defense played well on Friday, keeping Ridgwayâ€™s offense in check all night long. Sam Schneider, Dave Bojalad, Ricky Pearsall, Zac Brody, Adam Evers, Hank Cappiello and Joe McLaughlin all tackled the Ridgway quarterback or running backs for losses, while Steve Wingard and Dave Bojalad each recovered Ridgway fumbles.
Elk Catholic took the opening kickoff and fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, with Ridgwayâ€™s Jared Casolo recovering on the ECCHS 48-yard line. Ridgway turned the ball over on downs at the ECC 41.
Schneider opened the Crusadersâ€™ second possession by hitting Gebauer with a 19-yard pass for a first down. Pearsall added eight yards and Cappiello two for another first down. Pearsall then moved the ball 24 more yards to the six for a first down. Cappiello moved it to the one, with Kyle Schneider taking it in for the first score of the game. Bojalad split the uprights to make it 7-0 with 4:53 left in the period.
Ridgway returned the Elk kickoff to their own 43. They moved it to the 44 and faced a third and long. An incomplete pass would have ended the drive, but a penalty on Elk Catholic gave them a first down on the ECC 40. Ridgway was unable to get another first down and turned the ball over to the Crusaders on the ECC 40.
On the first-down play, Pearsall broke through the Ridgway defense and went 60 yards for a touchdown. Bojalad split the uprights and the Crusaders had a 14-0 lead with 16 seconds left in the period.
On their next series, the Elkers went three and out. The Crusaders took over on their own 35 following the Elker punt. McCullough picked up 10. Pearsall picked up seven and two, then Cappiello gained four to the Ridgway 41 for another first down. Kyle Schneider found Bojalad open and hit him with a pass that turned into a 41-yard touchdown. Bojalad kicked the PAT to make it 21-0 with 7:12 left in the half.
Another three and out for the Elkers gave the Crusaders the ball on the Ridgway 40. On the first-down play, Schneider hit Gebauer with a pass and Gebauer headed for the endzone. Just before crossing the goal line, he fumbled the ball as he was hit, but he recovered it in the endzone for the touchdown and a 28-0 lead as Bojalad split the uprights.
The Crusaders put together one more scoring drive in the first half as they took over on the Ridgway 35 following a 20-yard punt return by McCullough. On the first-down play, McCullough picked up three yards, then Pearsall added 18 to the 20 for a first down. Cortina moved it to the 16, then Pearsall gained seven to the nine for another first down. Cortina carried it the final nine yards for a touchdown and a 34-0 ECCHS halftime lead as the PAT was blocked.
At the start of the second half, the Elkers took the kickoff and picked up a first down before a fumble recovery by Dave Bojalad ended the drive on the Ridgway 49.
Elk Catholic needed just two plays to score following the fumble recovery as McCullough picked up four yards to the 45, then Pearsall broke around the end for a 45-yard touchdown scamper to make the score 41-0 following Bojaladâ€™s PAT. This put the mercy clock in operation.
The rest of the game was played on the Ridgway side of the field as the Elkers were unable to generate any serious scoring threats. Elk Catholicâ€™s reserves played most of the second half, coming up with some scoring threats that the Elkers ended on a fumble recovery and some good defensive plays.
The game ended with Elk County Catholic on the Ridgway 17-yard line as the ECC quarterback took a knee on the final two plays.
The Crusaders are now 7-2 on the season. They will enter the District 9-A playoffs, which are scheduled to begin on Friday, Nov. 12.
Ridgway is now 0-9 and will play host to Clarion-Limestone on Friday in their season finale.
First downs 9 3
Yards gained rushing 262 47
Passes attempted 5 7
Passes completed 3 2
Intercepted by 0 0
Yards gained passing 100 9
Total yards 362 56
Punts-average 0-0 5-22
Penalties-yards 1-15 4-22
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-2
Offensive plays 43 40
Score by quarters
Elk Catholic 14 20 7 0 41
Ridgway 0 0 0 0 0
First quarter - Elk Catholic - Kyle Schneider one-yard run, Dave Bojalad PAT, 7-0, 4:53.
First quarter - Elk Catholic - Ricky Pearsall 60-yard run, Dave Bojalad PAT, 14-0, :16.
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Kyle Schneider to Dave Bojalad 41-yard touchdown pass, Dave Bojalad PAT, 21-0, 7:12.
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Kyle Schneider to Josh Gebauer 40-yard touchdown pass, Dave Bojalad PAT 28-0, 5:13.
Second quarter - Elk Catholic - Ben Cortina 9-yard run, PAT blocked, 34-0, :25.
Third quarter - Elk Catholic - Ricky Pearsall 45-yard run, Dave Bojalad PAT, 41-0, 8:29.
Rushing - Elk Catholic-Ricky Pearsall 189 yards, 12 carries; Sam Schneider 14 yards, 3 carries; Kyle Schneider 2 yards, 2 carries; Brock McCullough 32 yards, 10 carries; Hank Cappiello 10 yards, 4 carries; Ben Cortina 16 yards, 4 carries; Shaun Chiesa 1 yard, 1 carry; Joe Georgino 2 yards, 2 carries. Ridgway - DJ Skraba 27 yards, 22 carries; Alex Dickant 19 yards, 7 carries; Logan Wickett 1 yard, 4 carries.
Passing - Elk Catholic-Kyle Schneider 3 for 5 for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Ridgway - Alex Dickant 2 for 7 for nine yards.
Receiving -Elk Catholic-David Bojalad 1 catch for 41 yards and a touchdown, Josh Gebauer 2 catches for 59 yards and one touchdown.