LIGONIER VALLEY CONTINUES TO
ADJUST IN 2ND YEAR IN WPIAL
by PAUL SCHOFIELD
Ligonier Valley’s return to the WPIAL was
a learning experience for football coach Roger
Beitel in 2020.
Not only did the Rams discover what type of
styles and athleticism opponents had, they also
got a geography lesson. Ligonier Valley played
in six counties — Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver,
Fayette, Greene and Westmoreland.
The Rams finished 4-3 overall and 2-2 in
the WPIAL Class 2A Allegheny Conference.
They finished behind Apollo-Ridge and Serra
Because of covid-19 protocols and cancellations,
the Rams were forced to find some
opponents to fill holes in the schedule. Western
Beaver and Waynesburg were not part of the
original schedule but were added. Ligonier
Valley didn’t get to play Summit Academy,
which opted out of last season.
The coronavirus hampered offseason preparation
for all the teams. It really hurt Ligonier
Valley, which needed the reps because of so
many new players.
Things are sort of back to normal this season.
The Rams had a regular offseason, the team
worked to get bigger and stronger and the
young players are a year older.
“Everything was a learning experience for
us,” Beitel said. “It was crazy because we got
seven games in, and we played in six counties.
We got to travel pretty much all over the
WPIAL, which was a good experience from
Western Beaver to Waynesburg.
“Just getting into a different mindset, basically
if you finish in the top three in your
section, you go to the playoffs in a normal
year,” Beitel said.
“It gets you into a different mindset. Our
first five games are basically exhibition games.
It’s for us to work and get better and develop
a team. In District 6, Week 1 you had to go
because it was a point game.”
And Beitel knows it’s still going to be a challenge
every week in the Allegheny Conference,
facing the likes of Apollo-Ridge, Serra Catholic,
Shady Side Academy, Steel Valley and Summit
“We’ll also have to adjust to the speed we’ll
face,” Beitel said. “We’re playing teams that
have a lot more speed. Everybody has a kid
that is a game breaker that the other team can’t
catch. That’s a big adjustment.
“Learning the schools and learning their
styles, and we’re still in a learning process because
we didn’t get a full schedule of the teams
we should have played. Our kids had a good
offseason this year, a lot of learning in terms
of getting out and playing seven-on-seven and
playing in different settings that is helping us
prepare for our WPIAL conference.”
The good news for the Rams is they return
21 of 22 starters. Offensive lineman Derek Fox
was the lone senior in the 2020 roster.
Heading the offensive is junior quarterback
Haden Sierocky, who completed 50 of 99 passes
for 559 yards and seven touchdowns. He also
rushed for 676 yards and 13 scores.
Senior Nick Beitel, the coach’s son, gives the
Rams a solid one-two punch in the running
game. He rushed for 642 yards and four touchdowns.
Beitel also had 14 catches for 147 yards.
Among other returning skill players, senior
Matthew Marinchak had 14 receptions for 166
yards and a touchdown. Grant Dowden caught
11 passes for 149 yards, rushed for 118 yards
and scored three touchdowns. Tight end Miles
Higgins had eight catches for 85 yards.
Seniors Ryan Harbert (slot back) and Shorter
Drury (wide receiver) also will start. This is
the first season for Harbert, an outstanding
wrestler for the Rams.
Senior Jude Grzywinski returns for his
fourth season at center. He’ll be flanked by left
guard Colin Smith, left tackle Tylan Wilkins,
right tackle Jacob Hay and right guard Kaden
Smith started the 2020 season at left tackle
before he suffered a knee injury against Serra
and Wilkins moved in. Junior Billy Sugden
is a player who could be in the mix on the
The Rams will use a 4-3 look on defense,
with Grzywinski and junior Logan Mulheren
anchoring the tackle spots, and Hay, Sugden
and senior George Golden seeing time at end.
Dowden returns at inside linebacker and
Higgins and Faas on the outside.
The secondary will consist of Nick Beitel and
Drury at cornerback and Harbert and Sierocky
Golden, who returns as the team’s kicker,
decided not to play soccer and will be a key
position player for the Rams.
26 • SUNDAY, AUGUST 22, 2021 • TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
No. Name Pos. Ht/Wt. Cl.
1 Logan Foust SE/DB 5-9/157 Sr.
2 George Golden K 6-3/210 Sr.
3 Broderick Schreyer QB/DB 5-8/160 Jr.
5 Nick Beitel RB/DB 5-8/182 Sr.
7 Nick Lonas RB/DB 5-11/152 Jr.
8 Duncan Foust QB/LB 5-10/164 Fr.
10 Zach Theys WR/DB 5-4/103 Fr.
11 Ryan Harbert SE/DB 5-8/155 Sr.
13 Grant Dowden RB/DB 6-0/170 Sr.
15 Miles Higgins TE/LB 6-3/228 Sr.
17 Haden Sierocky QB/DB 6-0/176 Jr.
19 Matthew Marinchak SE/DB 6-2/200 Sr.
21 Sam Mundorff RB/LB 5-5/131 Sr.
24 Logan Johnston RB/DB 5-9/157 Jr.
26 Khorter Drury RB/DB 5-8/161 Sr.
29 Mark Jablunovsky WR/DB 5-9/132 Fr.
32 Bruce Krieger RB/DB 5-9/141 Jr.
40 John Jablunovsky RB/DB 5-10/150 Fr.
44 Maxx Oberley WR/DB 5-8/141 Fr.
50 Mason Mohnkern OL/DL 5-11/171 Jr.
51 Jesse Turner OL/LB 5-9/178 Jr.
52 Kaden Faas RB/LB 5-10/193 Sr.
54 Sam Caldwell OL/DL 6-0/266 So.
56 Landen Laskoski OL/DL 5-9/201 Jr.
57 Jacob Hay OL/DL 6-2/200 Sr.
58 Noah Dunn OL/DL 5-10/232 Fr.
61 James Pleskovitch OL/DL 6-2/223 Jr.
63 Billy Sugden OL/DL 6-1/208 Jr.
67 Wade Lamont OL/DL 5-7/165 Fr.
74 Jude Grzywinski OL/DL 6-3/301 Sr.
75 Colin Smith OL/DL 5-11/260 Jr.
77 Tylan Wilkins OL/DL 5-11/248 Jr.
78 Logan Mulheren OL/DL 5-9/303 Jr.
80 Alex Marquis WR/DB 5-8/123 Fr.
83 McKinley Shearer TE/LB 5-11/183 Jr.
88 Hunter Carr TE/LB 5-10/165 Fr.
Coach: Roger Beitel
2020 record: 4-3, 2-2 in
Class 2A Allegheny Conference
All-time record: 467-495-40
Date Opponent Time
8.27 at Indiana 7
9.3 at Elizabeth Forward 7
9.10 Jeannette 7
9.17 Frazier 7
9.24 Carrick 7
10.1 at Steel Valley* 7
10.8 Serra Catholic* 7
10.15 Summit Academy* 7
10.22 at Shady Side Academy* 7
10.29 Apollo-Ridge* 7
Passing Haden Sierocky
50-99, 559 yards, 7 TDs
91-676 yards, 13 TDs
Receiving Nick Beitel
• The Rams had three NCAA
Division I linemen on the 2019
team. They were Michael Petrof
(Navy), Christian Jablonski
(Lehigh) and Wylie Spiker
ALLEGHENY • LIGONIER VALLEY