Friday, October 5, 2012

Ligonier Valley gets defensive

Finding a team with a bigger collective chip on its shoulders than Ligonier Valley football is a difficult task.

Standout senior Ryan Torrance, who leads the area with 16 touchdowns and 100 points, spends part of his week being hassled by teammates. They consistently remind Torrance that there's a player on the other team better than him.

It's all part of a team-wide effort, which includes the coaching staff, to get Torrance to play football angry.

Outside linebacker Stuart Urch takes umbrage with perceived slights.

The Rams found some newspaper people that picked Purchase Line to beat the Rams in Week 1. Ligonier Valley won, 47-0. (For the record, The Tribune-Democrat unanimously picked Ligonier Valley).

Well, Torrance and Urch and the rest of Ligonier Valley's defense has taken things out on its opponents.

Through five games, the Rams (5-0) are not only undefeated and the holding the second spot in The Tribune-Democrat's football rankings, they've shutout three opponents and allowed only 33 points - 15 against Blairsville and 18 to Windber mostly in mop-up duty.

"Honestly, I am surprised with how well we've played," said Urch, whose 14 sacks leads the state according to "I thought we could be good, but not this good."

Against Windber, Ligonier Valley swarmed the Ramblers single-wing offense.

"Windber came in averaging 276 rushing yards per game," coach Roger Beitel said. "We held them to 24 yards rushing."

Against Marion Center, Ligonier Valley's defense did not allow a first down. Marion Center finished with minus-41 total yards.

"That's unheard of, especially around here," Beitel said.

The defense will likely be tested in upcoming weeks against Penns Manor, Homer-Center and Northern Cambria in the Heritage Conference and in a Week 10 contest against Bald Eagle Area.

So far, the defense has proven up to all challenges.

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