Jurkovec, Defense lead Pine-Richland to First State Football Title

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From the moment it kicked off its season on August 27 on ESPN, Pine-Richland was destined to end its season in Hershey.

The Rams fulfilled that destination on Saturday when they hoisted their first football state championship in program history with a 41-21 victory against Class 6A powerhouse, St. Joseph’s Prep, at Hersheypark Stadium

It was a slow start, but the offense picked up in the second half and the defense forced four crucial fumbles in the blistery conditions and snow-covered field.

Senior Phil Jurkovec accounted for five touchdowns to close out his career. He rushed four four touchdowns, two in each half, and completed a 25-yard pass to senior Ben Jochem in the second half. Jurkovec finished 15 for 27 for 200 yards and a touchdown and interception. On the ground he 88 yards on 20 carries and four touchdowns.

The Rams took a 14-7 lead into halftime, but found their offensive rhythm in the third quarter. Thanks to a couple of key turnovers forced by the defense, Pine-Richland scored 21 points in the quarter to break open a 35-14 lead into the fourth quarter.

Senior Jordan Crawford put the finishing touchdowns on the championship run with a 12-yard touchdown run. Crawford finished the game with 81 rushing yards on 13 carries and the score. He also had 66 receiving yards on three catches.

Senior Raymond Falcone led the team in receiving with four catches for 70 yards.

With the win, the Rams finished the season a perfect 16-0 and averaged 47.2 points per game and allowed 13.1 points per game during the season.