PINE, Pa. — The Pine-Richland Rams defeated the Cathedral Prep Ramblers 21-14 behind a late touchdown by quarterback Ryan Palmieri.
The Ramblers had 2:01 to tie the game, but an interception by junior defensive back Bryce O’Brien sealed the win.
Cathedral Prep took a 7-0 lead on their first drive courtesy of a short carry by junior running back Dajoure Hollingsworth—and a third-down illegal contact penalty.
A 66-yard pass from Rams’ quarterback Ryan Palmieri to receiver Bradford Gelly gave Pine-Richland a prime scoring chance, but the Ramblers stonewalled Palmieri on fourth-and-goal from the one.
The Ramblers couldn’t get out of the shadow of their goal line, and a short punt gave Pine-Richland the ball at the 25-yard line. The Rams lost a fumble on the next play.
Cathedral Prep quarterback Luke Costello found wideout Damario Crawford along the sideline for a 31-yard catch, but the Ramblers eventually turned the ball over on downs at the Pine-Richland 35.
The Rams drove into field goal range powered by junior running back Ethan Pillar, but a mishandled snap on the kick allowed Cathedral Prep to escape unscathed. The Ramblers doubled their lead to 14-0 a play later on a 66-yard carry by Hollingsworth.
Cathedral Prep got the ball back at their own one after a red zone fumble. The Ramblers returned the favor, fumbling at the seven, before Palmieri found receiver Andrew Melis, who has an offer from Dayton, in the back corner of the end zone to make it 14-7.
The Rams tied the game at 14 before halftime. Melis caught a 41-yard pass to set up another Palmieri touchdown throw, this one to receiver Luke Rudolph.
Neither team managed any offense in the third quarter as penalties, dropped passes and aggressive pass rushes slowed the game to a crawl.
Cathedral Prep missed a 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Crawford intercepted a pass to give the Ramblers the ball back, but they turned it over on downs on a fake punt.
Pine-Richland began a long drive, capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Palmieri to put the Rams up by seven with 2:01 to play.
The Ramblers had no timeouts, and O’Brien intercepted a pass by Costello to seal the Rams’ win.
Pine-Richland improves to 11-3 and heads to the state semifinals. Cathedral Prep’s season ends at 8-3.