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Shady Side Academy holds off Apollo-ridge @ApolloRidgeFB @shady_side @SSAFBboosters

Written by: on Sunday, October 10th, 2021


Pittsburgh – Shady Side Academy built a 21-0 fourth-quarter lead, then held on to beat Apollo-Ridge 28-14 Saturday afternoon.

“It’s always nice to come out on homecoming with a victory,” said Shady Side Academy head coach Chuck DiNardo. “Where we are in the season right now, we considered this a critical game.”

The Bulldogs opened the scoring following a scoreless first quarter when Isaiah Grier broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown run 51 seconds into the second quarter.

Grier rushed for a team-high 109 yards on only four carries thanks to the long run.

Shady Side Academy would increase their lead when Max Wickland connected with Joey Bellinotti on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 3:13 to play in the first half.


“For us to be able to come out and put a few drives together for scores was huge in that first half,” said DiNardo. “We still have a lot to get better at this season as much as we enjoyed the win. There are a couple of things we’d love to clean up off of this, but again it’s always nice to get a win in front of the home crowd on homecoming.”

Bulldogs quarterback, Wickland, had a big game completing 13-of-16 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

Both teams drove nearly the length of the field on their opening drives. However, both were turned away by the respective defenses.

Unfortunately for Apollo-Ridge, that would happen twice more before the first half expired.

Midway through the second stanza, the Vikings drove to the Bulldogs 8-yard line, where quarterback Karter Schrock’s apparent 5-yard touchdown run was called back on an illegal shift.

For the third time in the first half, the Vikings drove inside the Bulldogs 10-yard line with under a minute to play in the first half.

For the third time, they were turned away, and Shady Side Academy took a 13-0 lead into the locker room.

“If we score on any of those three, then it changes the game all the way around,” said Apollo-Ridge head coach John Skiba. “Whenever we got down there, we had miscues. We took the blame for it. We had a bad first half.”

Shady Side opened up a 21-0 lead late in the third quarter when Chris Sullivan ripped off a 17-yard run.

Apollo-Ridge finally got its offense in the end zone twice in the fourth quarter to make it a game at 21-14 with 8:02 to play.

“They’re a talented team, and we struggled to match that early,” said Skiba. “We some adjustments, and the kids were able to execute. Our kids kept battling, and they didn’t quit on us. We have to get better. If we could have things in the first half, we wouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation.”

The Vikings scored on a pair of 10-yard touchdown runs by Schrock and Nick Curci. Both hit the century mark on the ground. Schrock rushed for 102 yards on 19 carries and completed 8-of-19 passes for 85 yards with an interception.


Curci rushed for a game-high 149 yards on 22 carries, Gage Johnstown had five receptions for 71 yards.

Following an excellent kickoff return from Bellinotti, Shady Side put the game away on the snap from scrimmage. Wickland threw a rainbow down the near sideline into the arms of Nate Mallory for a 41-yard touchdown.

“That was a huge response because they had 14 unanswered points,” said DiNardo. “For Joey to take that past kickoff midfield was a huge play. Then right after that, we went up top and were able to get one on them. We talk about when there is a score against us. There is not much we can do other than respond.”


The Bulldogs defense held the Vikings off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game and held on for a 28-14 victory.

Shady Side Academy will look to keep the momentum going next week when they travel to 6-0 Steel Valley.

Apollo-Ridge will look to bounce back when they host 7-0 Serra Catholic.

“We need to refocus for next week and get better,” said Skiba. “It’s a short week, and now we have to play the number two ranked team in Serra Catholic who had a week off. It won’t be an easy road to climb, but we’ll come back to work and get ready.”

Game Highlights:


Shady Side Academy 28 Apollo-Ridge 14

Score by Quarters

Apollo-Ridge – 0 0 0 14 – 14
Shady Side Academy – 0 13 8 7 – 28

Scoring Summary

Second Quarter

SSA – Isaiah Grier 64 yd run, (Anish Kusumanchi pat), 11:09

SSA – Joey Bellinotti 32 yd pass from Max Wickland, (kick failed), 3:13

Third Quarter

SSA – Chris Sullivan 17 yd run, (Sullivan from Wickland), 1:28

Fourth Quarter

AR – Nick Curci 10 yd run, (kick failed), 10:35

AR – Karter Schrock 10 yd run, (Curci rush), 8:02

SSA – Nate Mallory 41 yd pass from Wickland, (Kusumanchi pat), 7:43

Individual Stats

Rushing: Apollo-Ridge – Nick Curci 22-149, Landon Harmon 3-23, Schrock 19-102, Angelo Cicco 4-19. Totals: 48-293. Shady Side Academy – Grier 4-109, Chris Sullivan 10-45, Bellinotti 4-24, Wickland 5-35, Deacon Durham 2-0, Team 2-0. Totals: 27-213.

Receiving: Apollo-Ridge – Gage Johnston 5-71, Curci 1-10, Cicco 1-4, Mike Fryer 1-0. Shady SidemAcademy – Bellinotti 4-65, Sullivan 5-48, Grier 1-10, Durham 1-7, Mallory 2-74,

Passing: Apollo-Ridge – Schrock 8-for-19, 85 yards. 1 interception. Shady Side Academy – Wickland 13-for-16, 204 yards, 2 touchdowns.

Interceptions: Shady Side Academy – Joey Bellinotti

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