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With 5 Conference Wins, Serra’s Eagles Flying High

By Jason A. Mignanelli
The Tube City Almanac
October 17, 2022
Posted in: Sports

Serra Catholic’s Eagles are flying high after another regular season football victory.

On Friday, Serra defeated Ligonier Valley 27–18 on the road to run their record to 7–1 overall and 5–0 in the WPIAL AA Allegheny Conference.

On Oct. 7, Yough surprised Serra, and although the Eagles won that matchup 28–14, untimely penalties and poor field position seemed to haunt the team the entire game.

Serra players said they knew they had to come out firing on all cylinders against Ligonier Valley.

Speaking about the close game at Yough two weeks ago, senior wide receiver Amir Spencer said, “We just didn’t play our best game and they did play their best game.”

Players and coaches said that the team has developed a “family-like” atmosphere that helps them overcome adversity like a close game.

“We always want our players to feel as though the team is a family. For some of us, it really is, as we spend more time together at school and practice than at home during the season,” said Michael Betler, Serra Catholic assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

Although Serra Catholic wasn’t thrilled with how they played against Yough two weeks ago, the close game may have been just what the Eagles needed coming into the recent matchup against Ligonier Valley.

“Ligonier played keep away from us,” said Betler. “I think our offense only had the ball for 37 total plays, and we scored four touchdowns. We used big chunk plays to set up our scores, while they grinded out the clock and used long drives.”

Senior quarterback Elijah “Tiger” Ward rushed for 41 yards and two touchdowns while also catching one touchdown from fellow quarterback, Quadir Stribling.

Stribling was 4-8 passing for 107 yards and the lone 37-yard touchdown pass to Ward.

Elijah Ward was 5-8 for 93 yards and the three cumulative touchdowns.

Senior running back Mike Schanck had 10 carries for 72 yards and a rushing touchdown as well.

Senior wide receiver Amir Spencer had five receptions for 100 yards and Serra Catholic’s kicker Caden Bauer was 3 for 4 on extra points.

“After graduating 14 players from last year’s team, we had many new faces start the season on offense and defense for the first time. We had about eight guys return that got significant playing time last season, so we have had many new faces step in and play big roles on our team,” said Betler.

When asked how to get those new faces valuable experience, Betler said, “The best way to mature is to be thrown into the fire, so the guys that were first time-starters at the beginning of the year now have experience, and are prepared for the playoff run we hope to make.”

Serra Catholic has two more games left in the regular season. On Friday, Serra Catholic travels to (4-4) Apollo Ridge where they will have to try very hard not to get caught looking past the Vikings towards the highly anticipated season ending game against undefeated Steel Valley.  

“Both of these will be big tests as Apollo is fighting for a playoff berth and Steel Valley is vying for the conference championship. We will need to play two great games in order to beat both of these opponents,” Betler said.

Around the Region ...

• McKeesport Area defeated Gateway 41–17 last week, bringing its record to an amazing 8–0 overall. The Tigers have two very winnable games remaining on the schedule before the playoffs. On Friday, McKeesport travels to Greater Latrobe to take on the Wildcats at 7 p.m.

• East Allegheny defeated Deer Lakes 42–7 to bring its record to a solid 6–1 overall and 2–1 in the conference. The EA Wildcats have two games remaining. This Friday night they host Knoch (0–8) at 7 p.m. under the lights in North Versailles Twp.

Jason A. Mignanelli is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh’s North Hills and a student at Duquesne University. He may be reached at mignanellij@duq.edu.

Originally published October 17, 2022.

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