No. 1 Pine-Richland scores early, rolls past Kiski Area

Friday, October 23, 2020 | 10:37 PM

Going into the game, Kiski Area knew it needed to figure out a way to slow down Class 5A No. 1 Pine-Richland’s offensive attack. However, the Rams jumped on the Cavaliers early and didn’t look back.

The Rams scored on their first two plays from scrimmage and rolled to a 58-14 victory in Northeast Conference play at Richard J. Dilts Field. With the win, the Rams completed an undefeated regular season and clinched sole possession of the conference title.

“I thought our kids came out fast tonight and played a very clean, physical game,” Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said.

On the first play from scrimmage, senior Cole Spencer connected with junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hasley on a 61-yard strike to open the scoring for the Rams. After forcing a Cavalier punt, Spencer threw a screen pass to Luke Miller for a 50-yard touchdown pass to put the rans up 14-0 just under three minutes into the game.

“We treated Kiski like all of our previous opponents. We wanted to control the tempo in all three phases of the game,” Kasperowicz said. “Anytime you can strike quick like that is good for your football team’s overall morale.”

Spencer, who only played a quarter and a half, threw for 228 yards and five touchdowns on 9 of 9 passing.

The Rams defense was too much for the Cavaliers (2-4, 1-4), as Kiski was unable to sustain an offensive attack.

Spencer and the Pine-Richland offense continued to be efficient as he connected with senior Eli Jochem for touchdowns passes on back-to-back drives.

First, Spencer found Jochem down the left side for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Then, Jochem caught a wide receiver screen and scampered down the right side for a 28-yard touchdown to give the Rams a 27-0 lead with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Later in the first half, Spencer connected with Jochem for a third time on a 30-yard touchdown pass on the Rams’ sixth drive of the game.

The Rams (6-0, 5-0), who averaged 50.0 ppg this season going into the matchup, didn’t only have Spencer throwing touchdowns as two Pine-Richland running backs found the end zone in the first half.

Junior Brooks Eastburn scored on a 38-yard run to extend the lead to 34-0. On Spencer’s final drive, senior Jordan Burns rushed down the left side for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Rams a 48-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half.

The Cavaliers finally started to get their offense rolling before the end of the first half.

“I’m proud of my kids. They played hard but we were just outmatched,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said. “They could’ve hung their head and quit but they didn’t. You go against a superior team like that, there’s only so much you can do.”

Sophomore quarterback Lebryn Smith lobbed a 29-yard touchdown pass down the left side to junior wide receiver Calvin Heinle as the Rams took a 51-7 into halftime. On the final drive of the first half, junior running back James Pearson broke out a 47-yard run to get the Cavaliers down to the 29-yard line.

On their opening drive of the second half, the Cavaliers put together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with Smith connecting with Heinle for a 4-yard touchdown pass to trim the Rams’ lead to 51-14.

“We have eight or nine underclassmen out there. You hope they learn from that, work hard in the offseason and come back looking like they do,” Albert said.

Pearson rushed for 125 yards for the Cavaliers.

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