Pine-Richland pair showing chemistry, having breakout seasons

Sunday, October 3, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Dating to their youth football days, Cole Boyd and Alex Gochis said they’ve always had chemistry as a quarterback and receiver combo.

Through the years, they’ve continued to build on it through work both in practice and on their own time.

They’ve had to wait their turn to showcase what they can do together under the Friday night lights, but as seniors, they are making an impact for Pine-Richland.

Boyd is in his first year as the Rams quarterback, but he threw for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first five games of the year. His top target has been Gochis, who had 19 receptions for 270 yards and three touchdowns.

“As soon as we got to middle school and then high school, we always had that connection,” Boyd said. “He would be on the outside, and I’d be finding him on some one-on-one shots. It’s been going on for a while. We’ve always had it.”

Both are in their first season as a full-time starter and each learned from a standout in front of them.

Boyd was behind former standout quarterback Cole Spencer the last few years, and watching him was good preparation for the starting job.

“(Spencer) was a good mentor, and I’ve also had some good coaches,” Boyd said. “I felt like I was ready once it was my time to start. Once I got the first couple of games under my belt, it all started going smoothly.”

Gochis learned from Eli Jochem, the school’s all-time leader in receptions.

“I just watched him in practice, and he helped me out on routes,” Gochis said of Jochem. “He was good at everything, and he is a very humble person. That’s something I took away from him too.”

Both admitted to having some pregame jitters entering their first start against Harrisburg in Week Zero, but those have subsided as the games went on.

They connected eight times in that game for 131 yards and a touchdown.

In the Central Catholic game, Gochis had six catches for 102 yards and a score. In the Rams’ first win against Upper St. Clair two weeks ago, Boyd found Gochis for a key 7-yard touchdown. The following week in a win at Gateway, they combined on a 37-yard pass play that set up an insurance touchdown on a 2-yard run by Kyle Palmeri in the 21-7 win over the Gators.

They don’t expect to stop combining on big plays anytime soon, especially now that they are getting into conference play.

The Rams took their lumps the first few weeks, losing to Harrisburg, Seneca Valley and Central Catholic, but after wins over Upper St. Clair and Gateway, the tide turned, and they are ready to keep it going in conference play.

“Having that frontloaded schedule against Class 6A teams was one of the best things for us,” Boyd said. “Even though we didn’t win those first three games, it set the tone for how we have to play this year. It reminded me of when we used to play big teams for Week Zero like IMG Academy. It really sets you up for conference play.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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