Pine-Richland continues to roll, wins Class 6A Championship

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Pine-Richland was the clear-cut favorite to win the Class 6A WPIAL championship since the first week of the season.

The Rams proved that was the case each week for the past 13 weeks, and Saturday’s championship game at Heinz Field was no different.

Pine-Richland led from start to finish in its 42-7 win against Central Catholic to win its second championship in four years. It was the second time this season they defeated their Northern Seven Conference rival.

On their first offensive possession of the game, the Rams drove down the field with relative ease behind senior quarterback, Phil Jurkovec. Jurkovec set Pine-Richland up with a 1st-and-goal with a 22 and 50 yard run. Fellow senior Jordan Crawford finished the drive with a 10-yard run to put the Rams up 7-0.

The Rams were back at it on their next possession after forcing a punt. Jurkovec threw his first touchdown pass of the game, a 48-yard catch and run by senior Raymond Falcone to make it 14-0.

Both defenses stood tall for the majority of the second quarter, but a lapse by Central Catholic in the final minutes allowed Pine-Richland expand the lead to 21-0. With 39 seconds left, Jurkovec hit senior Jason DeFrancisis on a screen pass that he took 35 yards for the score.

Halftime did not slow the Rams down with them scoring on the first possession of the second half. Just like he did in the first half, Crawford opened the scoring in the second half with a 51-yard run. It marked Crawford’s ninth touchdown against the Vikings this year in two games.

Jurkovec and DeFrancisis hooked up again to find the endzone on a screen pass, this time from 58 yards to give the Rams a 35-0 lead in the third quarter and invoked the mercy rule.

The Rams finished their scoring on the first play of the fourth quarter when Jurkovec scampered in from 25 yards.

The Vikings were able to get on the board with 1:13 left in the game on a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Dontre Jones.

Jurkovec finished the day 16 of 23 for 283 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 93 yards and a touchdown. In the game, Jurkovec became the fifth leading passer in WPIAL history. Crawford finished the game with 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns. DeFrancisis led the receiving core with seven receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

Jones led the Vikings offense with 68 yards and a touchdown.

Pine-Richland improves to 13-0 and will advance to the PIAA quarterfinals on next week against State College.