No. 1 Pine-Richland cruises past Norwin

Friday, September 20, 2019 | 10:41 PM

Pine-Richland’s offense operates at a speed nearly as fast as Formula One race cars.

The N0. 1 Rams rarely wasted time between snaps and marched down the field behind the precision passing of Cole Spencer, who left the game at halftime with the next two quarters a formality in a 46-0 win over Norwin on Friday.

“Everything we asked of the kids offensively, they did it all,” Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said. “This was a great week of practice, so I challenged them to play just the way they practiced.”

Pine-Richland (5-0, 3-0 WPIAL 6A) had 382 yards from scrimmage at halftime and led 38-0.

Rams running Luke Meckler scored touchdowns on runs of 42 and 36 yards, his only carries. Spencer did the most damage with 21 of 26 passing for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a 17-yard run.

“Obviously we didn’t tackle very well today, which you can’t do against a good team,” Norwin coach David Brozeski said. “We knew they were going to throw, because they’ve done it all year. … We’ve got a lot to tidy up on our end.”

Eli Jochem reprised his role as Spencer’s favorite target with seven receptions for 117 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown.

“With the whole team, especially with me, Eli, Luke (Miller), D’Avay (Johnson) and Seth (Bolin), we’ve been together for a long time,” Spencer said. “We lost to St. Joe’s (in the state semifinals) in December, and month or two later we were already practicing together.”

Norwin (1-4, 0-3) was unable to capitalize on three drives past midfield in the first half due to penalties, runs for losses and sacks.

Jack Salopek led the Knights on 9 of 15 passing for 91 yards and kept Norwin’s hopes alive early in the game by converting a third-and-18 and third-and-19 on consecutive drives, each time connecting with tight end Tanner Krevokuch.

“The way we’ve been all year is we battle,” Brozeski said. “That’s why I love these guys. They battle. We talked about it at halftime. Jack and (Tanner) made some plays, and it’s a testament to their character when it would be easier to fold it in. I’m proud of our guys from that aspect.”

Pine-Richland’s defense sacked Salopek five times and recovered a Norwin fumble in its second shutout of the season.

Kasperowicz doesn’t want anyone to overlook upcoming opponents, especially with Central Catholic next on the schedule.

“It’s ultimately on us as coaches to not let anyone get complacent,” Kasperowicz said. “We have to make sure everyone is of the same mindset every day with the right work ethic to keep this going.”

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