Pine-Richland’s 34-7 victory over Seneca Valley gives the Rams three championships in the past five years.
Yeah, that’s impressive, but get this, this is the third different starting quarterback for the Rams.
Ben DiNucci had three touchdowns in 2015, Phil Jurkovec had four touchdowns last season and this year sophomore quarterback Cole Spencer had four of his own.
Spencer threw two touchdown passes to Luke Miller and ran for 16 and three-yard touchdowns, both in the third quarter. He finished 11-of-18 throwing for 158 yards and also had 22 carries for 95 yards.
“(They’re all) playmakers, fearless,” said Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz. “Talk about Ben DiNucci, Phil Jurkovec and now Cole, they’re fearless. They’re not afraid to go out there and make a play. Ben was a gunslinger and Phil was Phil. But Cole was out there making plays. Not afraid to run the ball and make throws. To be able to do it under those lights, he didn’t look scared one time out there.”
Seneca Valley’s game plan was to put the burden on Spencer’s shoulders, and the sophomore stood tall.
“They were sending a lot of pressure,” he said. “It was rough, I think in the second quarter they started brining everybody. I got sacked twice, but once we got on a roll, we were alright.”
Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley played in week eight, leaving both teams the opportunity to introduce a few new wrinkles into the game plan.
The Rams’ big wrinkle came in the second quarter.
Both teams were doing nothing offensively until the Rams recovered a Jake Mineweaser fumble deep in Seneca Valley territory.
On the next play, Pine-Richland ran a flea-flicker that connected between Cole Spencer and Luke Miller for a 29-yard touchdown and the game’s first score.
“All through practice coach was saying, ‘We’re going to run this, we’re going to run this,’” said Spencer. “When he got the opportunity he called it, and it was there.”
The play was installed this week.
“It was great, great timing,” Kasperowicz said. “We lined up in a certain set, we motioned, we knew exactly what they were going to do, and they did it. The kids executed it to perfection.”
DEFENSE REIGNS SUPREME
Seneca Valley entered the game as the top scoring defense in Class 6A at 9.1 points per game, but it was Pine-Richland’s defense that stood out.
The Raiders were held to just 48 rushing yards on 31 attempts and committed four turnovers in the loss.
The deciding factor for the entire game was the play of the offensive and defensive lines for Pine-Richland.
Other than a few breakdowns or well-timed blitzes, Spencer stayed upright and Seneca Valley quarterback Gabe Lawson was left running for his life.
“If our defense is playing well, we can’t lose if they can’t score,” said linebacker Tyler King. “We know our defense can cause some havoc, and get our offense in great field position.”
“We knew coming into the game, just like last time, the game would be won up front,” said senior lineman Andrew Kristofic. “‘Put it on us,’ that was our motto. We have young skill guys and old linemen, so we said ‘Put it on us.’
“Young offense a lot of new guys, so you have to rely on that defense. We’ve been great all year. Some guys it was their first time, they’ve played well all season. With a stout front seven, we feel confident. That’s how we’re built this year.”