Turnovers in WPIAL final put anticlimactic end to strong season for Pine-Richland
Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 10:01 AM
While the dust has settled from its 10-7 loss to Central Catholic in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game, the sting of losing such a closely contested, high-stakes matchup against a rival remains for the Pine-Richland football team.
For the most part, the Rams accomplished what they set out to do in the title game against the Vikings, matching their counterparts punch for punch. However, according to coach Eric Kasperowicz, the most significant factor that contributed to his team’s loss was simple: turnovers.
“I thought we came in with a clear gameplan, and we executed it well,” Kasperowicz said. “Our defense played really well. We were able to limit them in the run game. I thought the difference was just the turnovers. It’s hard to win a game when you turn the ball over five times.
“And credit to Central Catholic: I think four of those five turnovers were forced turnovers. We didn’t do a good job of protecting the ball, but Central was also able to take it away from us, and that really made a difference.”
Still, Pine-Richland’s season included plenty of accomplishments on which to reflect. This year’s group imposed its will on almost every opponent it faced — winning every game by two touchdowns or more, save for its two matchups against Central Catholic. The Rams scored the most points in WPIAL Class 6A by a margin of 39 points. And although their bid for a WPIAL three-peat fell just short, they have plenty to celebrate.
“We were successful in a lot of aspects this season,” Kasperowicz said. “I think it was our sixth straight WPIAL playoff semifinals appearance. Things like that, they can be taken for granted when it becomes the standard. We have high standards for success, but this year’s group accomplished a lot and they should be proud.”
Furthermore, this year’s graduating class has left its mark. The 16 seniors are departing as the winningest class in Pine-Richland football history. In three years, the group tallied a 37-5 overall record while contributing to two WPIAL championship teams.
“It’s especially impressive considering this group didn’t win a single game as freshmen on the freshman team,” Kasperowicz said. “They certainly worked hard and improved over the years. They were an important part of the success that we’ve had in the last few years here. They provided us with a lot of talent and leadership. They’re the type of kids, on and off the field, that we take pride in having at this school and on this team.”