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Ian Erb serves as utility man for Mineral Ridge

Staff photo / Greg Macafee Mineral Ridge’s Ian Erb runs for a touchdown against Jackson-Milton earlier this season. Erb has served as a sort of utility player for the Rams this year, accounting for 18 total touchdowns.

When his team needed him the most, Mineral Ridge senior Ian Erb responded in record-breaking fashion.

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Rams (4-1) entered last Friday’s home game against Waterloo looking to rebound while battling the injury bug.

Erb provided Mineral Ridge with a triple-threat boost, leading the Rams to a 47-12 win. Erb rushed for 203 yards and five touchdowns. He also scored a receiving touchdown, and tallied 60 total receiving yards. To top things off, he threw for 50 yards.

His six touchdowns in one game is a Mineral Ridge school record.

“Going into the game we were banged up, we started two freshmen and two sophomores on the line and I just had the mindset to do whatever the coach asked in order to get a win,” Erb said. “This really was a great team win because so many players stepped up and contributed in so many ways. I’m just glad we got the win.”

Erb has multitasked throughout the season. In the Rams’ season-opener against Pymatuning Valley, Erb started at the quarterback position. He completed eight of 11 passes for 106 yards and rushed for 77 yards. The following two weeks he was used primarily as a running back. Then he split time between quarterback and running back in weeks four and five.

Through five games Erb has rushed for 640 yards and thrown for 189 yards. He also has 185 receiving yards while scoring 18 total touchdowns – 15 rushing, two receiving and one throwing.

“It’s a funny thing, mentally it’s a bit challenging but I just go out there and put in the work, then trust in myself and trust my ability,” Erb said. “The thing is, it’s very reassuring to know that Coach (Brian) Shaner trusts me and has the confidence in me to be able to move me around on the field. Knowing he believes in me is a huge lift.

“If I move around from position to position throughout a game, I try not to overthink it. I just go out there and execute the same way we do in practice and usually things work themselves out.”

On Friday Mineral Ridge will match its 4-1 record against Lowellville. The Rockets will host the Rams after having their 16-game regular season winning streak snapped last Friday by Western Reserve.

ONE TUFF INDIAN

Girard senior quarterback Tuff McConahy knew the expectations would be high when he assumed the role of the Indians’ starting quarterback this season.

McConahy enrolled at Girard High School during the 2022-23 school year, and he was quickly given a history lesson on the rich history of quarterbacks at the school.

“I was told that year after year, pretty much every quarterback here sets some type of record,” McConahy said with a laugh. “I never came into the season feeling the pressure of living up to the past, but at the same time you definitely want to do your part to keep the tradition alive.”

Thus far, McConahy has done just that.

McConahy already tied a single-game school record when he threw for six touchdown passes in week three against West Branch. And, his success has been constant throughout the first half of the season. McConahy currently leads all Ohio quarterbacks with 1,683 passing yards. He has completed 121 of 178 passes, including 17 that went for touchdowns.

“All the props go to my line and my receivers,” McConahy said. “All I have to do is put the ball out there. There’s a lot of times when I’ll throw a simple screen pass and one of my guys breaks loose and turns it into a huge play. They make it all happen.”

Last year at Wilmington (PA), McConahy passed for roughly 750 yards while running the Wing T offense. This year he has more than doubled that total in just half a season.

“From a physical standpoint, I wasn’t really nervous about the switch in offensive styles,” McConahy said. “But mentally, I had a lot to learn. It took me a good two months to learn the playbook, and I’m still learning today.”

McConahy said he loves being a part of the Indians’ style of play.

“Girard is more fast-paced than anyone I’ve played with or against,” McConahy said. “We run a play, get the signs for the next play, take one breath and snap the ball. We often catch the defense off-guard with our pace.”

Coming off a 42-6 win over Pymatuning Valley, Girard returns to action Friday with a home game against Lakeview.

SIDELINE NOTES

With Lowellville’s loss to Western Reserve, Ursuline now owns the area’s longest current regular season winning streak at eight games … Ursuline, Poland, Jackson-Milton, United and Garfield remain undefeated…..Six area schools – East Palestine, Leetonia, Salem, Champion, Mathews and Howland – are still seeking their first win…..A trio of Columbiana County schools – Columbiana, Crestview and Wellsville – picked up their first win of the season last Friday … West Branch, Western Reserve and Beaver Local each opened the season with a loss. All three schools have since won four straight … Jackson-Milton moved to 5-0 for the first time since 1997 with a 28-21 win over McDonald. Ironically, the ’97 Jackson-Milton team was guided by current McDonald coach Dan Williams.

sports@vindy.com

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