PITTSBURGH — Pine-Richland Rams (4-3) defeated the Central Catholic Vikings (3-4), 35-13 on Friday, October 7.
The Rams’ offense didn’t miss a beat under the tutelage of senior running back Ryan Palmieri, who filled in at quarterback for the third consecutive week in place of injured starter Kanan Huffman.
Pine-Richland leapt to an early 7-0 lead on an eight-yard touchdown scamper by junior running back Ethan Pillar.
The Vikings responded by moving the ball with speed until quarterback Payton Wehner connected with junior receiver Vernon Settles on a 44 yard pass on third-and-fifteen. Settles, who has an offer from Akron, fumbled at the goal line. The ball bounced out the back of the end zone, gifting the Rams a touchback.
The following Rams’ drive stalled near midfield, but a fourth-and-three conversion allowed them to keep their foot on the gas. Sophomore kicker Grant Argiro pushed a 37-yard field goal wide right early in the second quarter, ending a promising drive for the Rams.
Palmieri scored from six yards out on a keeper to make it 14-0 Rams with 3:31 to go in the first half.
Wide receiver Xxavier Thomas kept a Vikings’ two-minute drill alive on a fake punt, picking up 22 yards on a reverse.
Thomas then scored on a 12-yard reception from Wehner, sending the Vikings into the half trailing 14-7.
Wehner completed two deep shots out of the half, a 31-yard pass to three-star receiver Peter Gonzalez and a 32-yard touchdown to running back Elijah Faulkner. The Rams blocked the extra point to keep a 14-13 lead.
Then it was Palmieri’s turn for a deep ball, launching a third down pass 37 yards to senior Brad Gelly to put the Rams in the red zone. Three plays later, Palmieri dove up the middle from two yards out to make it 21-13.
Gonzalez saved the ensuing Vikings’ drive with a pair of third down catches that went for 23 and 42 yards—the second on third-and-24. The drive died with a red zone turnover on downs.
Pillar put the Vikings away with a 68 yard run to take a 28-13 lead with six minutes remaining.
The rout extended to 35-13 a play later, when senior cornerback Andrew Mellis jumped in front of Wehner’s pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Central’s next game is against Penn Hills at home on Friday, October 14, while the Rams will play at Shaler Area High School.