Cole Spencer’s big night leads Pine-Richland past Seneca Valley

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Saturday, October 19, 2019 | 1:10 AM


Pine-Richland quarterback Cole Spencer threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, leading his Class 6A No. 3 Rams (8-1, 6-1) to a 35-21 victory over No. 5 Seneca Valley (3-6, 3-4).

Spencer opened the scoring with one of his touchdown runs then took over the game in the air. He threw for 328 yards on 24 of 33 passing with one interception.

Eli Jochem was the main beneficiary, collecting nine receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

Spencer also led the Rams in rushing with 40 yards on 15 carries. He accounted for 368 of the Rams’ 369 yards from scrimmage.

Luke Meckler gained the other yard and did so on six carries. However, Meckler had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the ensuing kickoff after Seneca Valley scored a 62-yard touchdown to tie the score 7-7 in the first quarter.

Coming into the contest, Seneca Valley relied on running back Eli West to carry the load. He was averaging more than 7 yards per carry.

West finished the night with 43 yards on 16 carries, and Rams coach Eric Kasperowicz was happy how his team neutralized the runner.

“That was one of our goals coming into the game was to shut West down,” Kasperowicz said. “He’s a strong, physical back and there were times he was able to bounce off tackles, but we were able to contain him.”

Seneca Valley’s offense saw success in the air as quarterback Gabe Lawson threw for 220 yards on 14 of 32 passing. Lawson added three touchdowns and one interception.

Despite outgaining the Rams, 204-203, in the first half, the Raiders struggled to sustain drives in the second half, gaining 92 total yards.

Late in the fourth quarter, trailing 35-21, Seneca Valley had two opportunities to start at or near midfield and was forced to punt on both drives.

Seneca Valley has lost consecutive games for the second time this season. Despite the loss, the Raiders have clinched a playoff spot and will be the fifth seed. Its final game is against Norwin.

Pine-Richland has the opportunity to clinch a share of the conference title next week as it faces North Allegheny. Already in position for a top-three seed in the playoffs, Kasperowicz knows it’s going to be a battle.

“We have to focus on ourselves and getting healthy this week,” Kasperowicz said. “North Allegheny is a really good football team, and we have to get ourselves ready for a tough matchup. We’re going to have to do what we do and make them play our style.”

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