Richland hammers Westmont Hilltoppers
Written by: Doug Keklak on Saturday, October 12th, 2013
The Richland Rams are one of the top five teams in the state at Class AA and they took very little time to flex their muscle against the Westmont Hilltoppers Saturday afternoon. In fact, it took just one minute of game time for them to get on the board scoring their first of what would be nine touchdowns on the day as they cruised to a 63-14 victory.
The Rams took the initial kickoff and started their first scoring drive at their own 42 and just four plays later Matt Shaffer hooked up with Nico Pecora from 21 yards out for the touchdown. Ben Verhovsek took the shotgun snap and ran in the two point conversion and the Rams went up 8-0.
Westmont was three and out for their first time on offense on the day and punted the ball back to the Rams. The punt was shanked and gave the Rams excellent field position at the Hilltoppers’ 38. Just two plays later Nick Naglic ran from the 29 and Shawn Gindlesberger hit the first of his six extra points on the day and with 8:23 to go in the maiden quarter it was 15-0 Rams.
The Hilltoppers were able to muster a first down on their next drive, but not too much more and ultimately had to punt again. Kyle Flick’s return deep into Westmont territory was negated by penalty flags and the Rams had to start the drive on their own 37. A neutral zone infraction by Westmont moved the ball up to the 42. This really didn’t matter because on the first play of the drive Pecora took a toss handoff and ran it 58 yards for the score. Gindlesberger was good on the extra point and the lead was now 22-0.
When it rains it pours as the Rams didn’t even need an offensive possession to get back on the board, they let the defense do it as Pecora picked off a Sam Curry pass and took it back 43 yards to the house. Another Gindlesberger PAT made it 28-0 with 4:19 to go…. in the FIRST quarter!
Westmont was unable to advance the ball past midfield on the ensuing possession and the Rams took over at their own 31 after yet another deep Flick punt return was wiped out by penalty markers. But just like the previous one, it really did not matter as the Rams go on the board yet again with the quickness. Tanner Solarczyk took the hand off on the first play of the drive and advanced it 26 yards from the Ram 45 to the Hilltopper 29. One play later, Shaffer hooked up with Flick who held on to the ball despite blatant defensive pass interference. Gindlesberger was again true and it was 36-0 Richland.
After the first quarter mercifully came to an end, the Hilltopper offense had a very respectable drive that ended with their first of two scores of the day, the only one against the Rams top defensive unit. It was a 12 play, 80-yard drive, all on the ground and took 6:24 off the clock. Kyler Pyshnik ran it in from 46 yards out to get the score despite Curry getting the bulk of the carries (five) on the drive. Mitch Causer added the point after in it was 36-7 Richland.
The fast paced Ram attack, or no-huddle, no-mercy as they like to call it, again countered. Gobbling up a large chunk of the field in only a few plays. The drive started at their own 33. Solarczyk took the first handoff and rumbled to the Westmont 34. Shaffer then hit Ryan Ball 2 for 12 yard gain before hooking up again for the second time of the day with Flick on a beautiful back shoulder throw at the corner of the front of the end zone. With 6:42 left in the half, following another point after it was 43-7 Richland.
The Hilltoppers’ next possession saw them turn the ball over on downs. Richland’s five play, 81-yard scoring drive ended with Shaffer hooking up with Ball from ten yards out. It was Shaffer’s fourth and final touchdown on the day as the second half led to the backups getting the bulk of the playing time for Brandon Bailey’s squad. Gindlesberger’s final extra point was good and the half time score was set at 50-7.
Dominic Farina and Michael Somiari scored second half Ram touchdowns and even the back up kicker got in the action as Forrest Fordham was 1-for-2 kicking extra points.
Curry scored the final points of the contest for either team on a rushing touchdown with just under six minutes to go in the game.
Richland remains unbeaten and will return home next week to host Penn Cambria while Westmont remains winless and will host Bishop Guilfoyle next Saturday.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball