Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday morning quarterback

The Richland at Penn Cambria game was supposed to be a clash of unbeaten powers from the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference with the winner not only claiming a conference championship but the probably top seed in the District 6AA playoffs.

A month ago, this appeared certain.

Then, something unexpected happened.

Bishop Guilfoyle 14, Penn Cambria 8.

Cambria Heights 27, Penn Cambria 20.

Forest Hills 20, Penn Cambria 18 (in overtime).

Three weeks, three consecutive losses for the preseason favorite in the LHAC. For now, Penn Cambria is in the top eight in the District 6AA standings, but a loss to Richland could knock the Panthers from the top eight with a tricky season finale against Somerset looming.

Penn Cambria is averaging 4.85 yards per carry, a rather pedestrian number for a team expected to win a conference championship, and has just one run of 50 yards or more.

* Richland, meanwhile, has had no problem hitting the home-run play, but the Rams can also piece together drives.

With a tailback like junior Tanner Solarczyk, there isn't much an offense can't do.

Solarczyk has rushed for 1,114 yards on 111 carries and has 15 rushing touchdowns. Here's the wild part of Solarczyk's season - he has 11 rushing touchdowns the past two games, including a whopping six Friday night against in Richland's 51-21 win over Westmont Hilltop.

* Conemaugh Valley's Shane Corson is one tough hombre.

* Chestnut Ridge quarterback Beau Bosch has put up some Solarczyk-like numbers the last two games.

Against Kutztown, Bosch rushed for 326 yards and five touchdowns. Two weeks ago, he accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing).

* Somerset found out it has a quality backup quarterback in Raven Beeman.

* Ligonier Valley rolled through six opponents before running into Penns Manor Friday night.

The Rams offense struggled in a 20-11 loss at Penns Manor. LV's lone touchdown came on a kickoff return and the offense finished with 72 yards.

Adding to the Rams' difficulties was the ejection of senior running back/linebacker Ryan Torrance, who will not be available when Ligonier Valley hosts a tough, one-loss Homer-Center on Friday.

Torrance was ejected for coming in contact with an official. For more details, click here.

* Talk about poise.

Forest Hills sophomore quarterback Joe Donoughe has plenty.

In what has to be one of this season's defining moments, Donoughe, who had missed several games due to injury, guided the Rangers on an improbable 11-play, 77-yard drive with no timeouts and only 2:03 remaining in the fourth quarterback against Penn Cambria.

Forest Hills trailed 12-6 when Donoughe took the field. They forced overtime when, fittingly, Donoughe scored on a quarterback sneak on the final play of regulation.

The Rangers eventually won in overtime.

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