|Richland's Luke Shertzer is a two-way starter at receiver and defensive back.|
Play big, heavy and physical
Chatted with a coach that went up against Aliquippa during this postseason, and he believes the only way to compete against the Quips is to have three or four linemen who weigh 280 to 300 pounds and aren't shy about contact.
Richland only has one player – Josh Dinniny – close to that range, but there are experienced, talented players along the front line for the Rams.
They'll need to play at their best against an Aliquippa team whose physical nature is undermined by its superior athleticism. The Quips are so tough along the defensive front that it frees up their highly athletic linebackers and defensive backs.
Establish the pass
Richland boasts a balanced offense, but Aliquippa boasts Division I prospects in the defensive secondary. The Quips are as physical at defensive back as their are along the front. Generally, they look to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Basically, they don't let receivers run the intended routes.
Given Richland's offensive prowess, the Rams will need to get something going in the passing game early to keep the Quips from stacking the box in an effort to stop Tanner Solarczyk and Matt Shaffer from running the football.
Bubble screens? Screen passes? Trick plays? Why not?
Score first and second
An early touchdown would be a confidence booster, and it might rattle an Aliquippa team that has only trailed once – by a 6-0 score to Ellwood City – all season.
Against Hickory in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals, Richland scored early and often.
Can that happen against Aliquippa? Maybe, especially if Richland can take advantage of any potential Aliquippa penalties or turnovers.