A-K Valley senior spotlight: Leechburg’s Eli Rich

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Monday, October 18, 2021 | 9:45 AM


Eli Rich

Leechburg football

Eli Rich is used to being on the receiving end of passes and celebrating touchdowns.

But one of the highlights from Leechburg’s 6-2 start to the 2021 season had him on the other side of the offensive attack.

Rich, typically a tight end, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Logan Kline to help the Blue Devils defeat Brentwood, 50-20, earlier this season.

“We drew it up at halftime,” he said. “Our coach thought I could do it. I have a good arm. I just let it go. I was supposed to lob it, but I threw it as hard as I could. It was a jet sweep. I got the handoff, stopped and threw it perfect.”

Leechburg has done a lot perfect this season, and Rich (6-5, 230) is a major reason why. The senior tight end/defensive end has 18 receptions for 411 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He also has made an impact on defense and special teams.

“Great kid, great leader, never comes off the field,” coach Randy Walters said of Rich, who was all-conference on offense and defense last season. “Great captain, never questions anything we ask of him.”

Rich took a few minutes before practice for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How has this season gone for you?

I think it’s going very well. Since last year, we really picked it up. We worked hard in the offseason and have been showing what we can do.

What has been the primary reason for the team’s success to this point?

Just what we did in the offseason this year. And also how we’ve been showing up. Everyone seems more interested with the new field and everything. More kids came out.

What are the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

We want to make playoffs. I believe we can do that. When we do, we want to win it all.

Do you prefer offense or defense?

I like offense more. You get a little bit more glory. I just love scoring touchdowns.

What do you do on special teams?

I’m the long snapper. It is very difficult. One bad snap can help the other team a lot. It takes a lot of focus. I hadn’t done it before. It’s a good task to take on to help the team.

Are you hoping to get a rematch with Bishop Canevin after the 33-3 loss last week?

Yeah, that’s our big one. We hope we can see Canevin in the playoffs again and have a redemption game against them.

What’s it like playing on the new turf at the stadium?

We love it. It feels better than our old field. Looks nicer. Feels better to play there.

Are you involved in any other sports/activities at Leechburg?

I play basketball. We had a good run to the semis last year before losing to Rochester, which was very hard.

Have you made any plans for next year?

Hopefully go to college to play football. If not, I’ll probably I just go work.

What is something people might not know about you?

I love hunting. It’s one of my big things.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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