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Bedford duo key in victory over CR

BEDFORD — Bedford’s senior-laden team possesses an offense with plenty of firepower, and quarterback Mercury Swaim is the Bisons’ triggerman.

Swaim shined with bothhis arm and his legs Friday night to lead Bedford to a 35-7 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference rout of county rival Chestnut Ridge in the season opener at Bisons Stadium.

Swaim ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more, rushing for 119 yards on nine carries and completing 8 of 11 passes for 159 yards, as Bedford rolled up 372 yards in total offense and kicked the mercy-rule clock into effect by building a 35-0 lead late in the third quarter.

Play(s) of the game: There were actually three big ones, and Swaim, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, was involved in all three. Swaim hit senior wideout Steven Ressler with a 46-yard pass early in the second quarter that set up Swaim’s 1-yard touchdown sneak which gave Bedford a 14-0 lead. Late in the second quarter, Swaim and Ressler connected again on a 38-yard pass play that paved the way for a 5-yard touchdown burst by senior back Elijah Cook for a 21-0 Bedford halftime lead. Swaim then bolted 56 yards for a touchdown on a picturesque run early in the third quarter, upping Bedford’s lead to 28-0.

Player of the game: Swaim accounted for 278 total yards passing and throwing, scoring himself on runs of 56 and 1 yard, and throwing touchdown passes of 20 yards to sophomore wideout Ethan Weber on Bedford’s opening drive, and a 4-yarder to Ressler late in the third quarter. Ressler caught five passes for 116 yards.

Unsung hero: Bedford’s defense was stout all night long, keeping a solid Ridge offense at bay.

Most vital statistic: Bedford was equally balanced offensively, rushing for 213 yards and throwing for 159.

Bedford coach Kevin Steele: “I’m proud of our kids. They’ve worked so hard since all the craziness started with COVID in the spring. It was nice to see them come out here tonight, play football, and get some sense of normalcy.”

Chestnut Ridge coach Max Shoemaker: “This was a tough one. But credit their kids. Their offense made plays when it needed to, and their defense was super aggressive and flying to the ball. The bottom line is that they were more physical than us on both sides of the ball.”

Bedford quarterback Mercury Swaim: “Our (offensive) line was just amazing tonight. It was just so easy for me back there with the way our line was playing. Defensively, everybody was hitting for us tonight. Everybody on the team did their jobs. This was a good starting point. I’m really happy about what we did here today.”

Remembering Kai: A moment of silence was held prior to the game in memory of the American lives lost on this date in the 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as in memory of Ridge standout wrestler Kai Burkett, who died in a two-car automobile accident two weeks ago last night. Burkett, 17, would have been a senior this year at Ridge, as well as a legitimate contender for a state wrestling title next March. He had several friends on the Ridge football team. “He was a great young man who came from a great family, and he was certainly close friends with a lot of our (football) kids,” said Shoemaker, who pointed out that the team also held a pregame prayer in Burkett’s honor and memory.

Notable: Both head coaches expressed gratitude that the football season was able to get underway Friday, even though, because of COVID-19 restrictions, there appeared to be only about 100 fans standing outside the gates watching the game, and none were allowed inside — a stark contrast to the huge crowds that normally grace any athletic event between the two county rival schools … Ridge senior quarterback Logan Pfister completed 11 of 22 passes for 79 yards, and also ran 2 yards for Ridge’s only touchdown, early in the fourth quarter … Junior defensive back Trent Price had an interception for Bedford.

Records: Chestnut Ridge (0-1 overall and in the Laurel Highlands Conference); Bedford (1-0 overall and in conference.

Next Friday: Bedford travels to Richland, while Ridge hosts Bishop McCort.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Chestnut Ridge .0 0 0 7 — 7

Bedford 7 14 14 0 — 35

FIRST QUARTER

B–Weber 20 pass from Swaim (Martz kick), 5:10.

SECOND QUARTER

B–Swaim 1 run (Martz kick), 9:17.

B–Cook 5 run (Martz kick), 2:19.

THIRD QUARTER

B–Swaim 56 run (Martz kick), 11:31.

B–S. Ressler 4 pass from Swaim (Martz kick), 1:31.

FOURTH QUARTER

CR–Pfister 2 run (Moyer kick), 7:03.

TEAM STATISTICS CR B

First downs 14 13

Total yards 257 372

Rushes/yards 36-135 28-213

Yards passing 122 159

Passes (Comp-att.-int) 12-23-1 8-11-0

Punts/avg 3-27.3 2-32.5

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties/yards 3-25 9-75

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING–Chestnut Ridge: Jon. Hillegass 14-64, Pfister 12-40, M. Whysong 2-11, N. Whysong 2-11, Bowman 2-7, Dunlap 2-4, Weyandt 2-(-2). Bedford: Swaim 9-119, S. Ressler 5-47, Cook 7-21, Price 6-19, Ebersole 1-7.

PASSING–Chestnut Ridge: Pfister 11-22-1-79; N. Whysong 1-1-0-43. Bedford: Swaim 8-11-0-159.

RECEIVING–Chestnut Ridge: M. Whysong 5-66, Weyandt 5-39, Jon. Hillegass 2-17. Bedford: S. Ressler 5-116, Edwards 2-23, Weber 1-20.

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