Pine Richland escapes upset with strong second half performance
Written by: AJ Schaffer on Sunday, November 26th, 2017
A game that many expected to be lopsided turned out to be competitive in the first half, where State College hung tough with Pine Richland. But the Rams turned on the burners in the second half cruising to a 49-21 win, advancing to the 6A semifinals.
Pine Richland was the first team to get on the board on a huge 58 yard run by Phil Jurkovec. That made it 7-0 with 4:47 in the first quarter.
State College would even up the score late in the quarter on a 15 yard pass from Tommy Friberg to Brandon Clark. The score at the end of 1 was 7-7.
Pine Richland would retake the lead on a 1 yard run by Kenny White with 7:32 in the second quarter.
On the following drive State College turned it over. Pine Richland marched down the field. Eventually they had First and Goal at the 6 yard line. A pivotal moment occurred where State College’s defense stood tall. Jurkovec ran it 4th and goal and fell 1 yard short.
State College started at their own 1. They got out to their own 40 on a pass to Brandon Clark. Later in the drive after a run by Tristen Lyons they were at the Pine Richland 9 yard line. They would tie it up on another pass to Brandon Clark this time it was 3 yard pass.
Pine Richland got it back but on the first play they turned it over giving State College a huge opportunity right before half. Luckily for Pine Richland the drive resulted in no points and the score was 14 all going to the locker room.
State College definitely found a mismatch in the first half, and that was Brandon Clark who had 5 catches for 117 yards and had both touchdown catches.
In the second half Pine Richland took over with their ridiculous up tempo offense. A failed surprise onside kick gave Pine Richland good field position and it they wasted very little time taking the lead.
A run by Jurkovec got the Rams to the State College 49. On the next play Jurkovec found Dawson Goltz for a 39 yard touchdown.
State College got the ball and on the first play Tommy Friberg threw an interception. That gave Pine Richland the ball at State College’s 23. On the first play the Rams striked again on another pass from Phil Jurkovec to Ben Jochem.
Suddenly a tie game went to a 14 point lead in the span of 68 seconds. State College punted it away on their next drive.
Pine Richland started the next drive on their own 29 yard line. They put together a long drive which actually took up little time because of their up tempo offense. Eventually Jurkovec connected with Dawson Goltz for a second time for a 12 yard touchdown.
Suddenly Pine Richland had a 35-14 lead midway through the third quarter. State College got on the board later in the quarter on 6 yard pass. They scored with 1:47 in the third.
Pine Richland answered almost immediately on a drive that featured several big plays. Jurkovec would finish that drive off on a 7 yard run. That play occurred with 21 seconds in the third.
Pine Richland added one final touchdown to make the final score 49-21.
Jurkovec was 19 of 24 for 260 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 120 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns that way.
After the game I asked him about how much of a difference their up tempo offense made that State College struggled mightily against it and he said, “yea we try to, we always try to go up tempo, and that’s the strength of our offense, just being able to get the defense on their heels, and whenever we’re rolling, it’s so hard to stop, so that’s our whole goal, to go as fast as possible.”
Next week Pine Richland will play in PIAA State Semifinals Manheim Township @ Altoona 1pm Sat.
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