Monday, September 24, 2012

Friday night/Saturday afternoon thoughts from a Monday morning quarterback

Anyone else wondering if Richland is the area's best football team?

Count me among the mix after the Rams' impressive 42-0 win against Greater Johnstown.

Don't think there's any doubt that the Rams boast a dynamic offense, one that scores points in bunches, gets great blocking from an outstanding offensive line and moves the ball with equal effectiveness in the air and on the ground.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Quarterbacks Matt Shaffer and Nico Pecora are putting up efficient, eye-popping statistics - the type of stats seen in prolific offenses like the New Orleans Saints, West Virginia Mountaineers, etc. Tanner Solarczyk leads a better-than-you-think ground game. Kyle Flick seems to catch two to three touchdowns per game.

But Richland proved it can do things defensively against a Johnstown team which had to feel confident coming off a come-from-behind win over Westmont Hilltop.

We'll find out a lot about Richland in the coming weeks as the schedule stiffense. Games remain against Bishop McCort, Somerset, Penn Cambria and Bellwood-Antis in an intriguing non-conference matchup.

If things hold course, Richland and Penn Cambria should both sport 7-0 records when they meet.

* In Friday's newspaper, every member of The Tribune-Democrat picked Somerset to beat Westmont Hilltop Saturday afternoon, but much of the talk concerning the game centered on how the Hilltoppers appeared primed to pull off an upset.

Forget the variables like a Saturday afternoon game messing with preparation.

The reason why the Hilltoppers won is they were nowhere near as bad as their 0-3 record indicated.

* Can't imagine a better non-conference game this season than Ligonier Valley at Windber this Friday.

* I can imagine the winner of Friday's North Star at Berlin game going on to win the WestPAC.

* Ligonier Valley has allowed 15 points on the season. Repeat - 15 points. The Rams have posted three shutouts, but they have yet to face a team as good as Windber.

*Finally, a shout goes out to tiny Avella High School, a proud football tradition and former WPIAL small-school power whose recent struggles were so great the New York Times documented them.

Avella moved to 4-0 on the season with a victory over Jefferson-Morgan Friday night.

The Eagles haven't qualified for the WPIAL playoffs since 1976. Considering the number of teams that enter the WPIAL tournament, that's a staggering absence.

If Avella can post a 4-0 record, there's hope for every struggling program.

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