Everyone knows that Richland has an explosive offense.
Last night, the Rams showed that they can play defense as well.
Richland scored the first four times they had the ball, but defensively, they held Bishop Guilfoyle to nine yards and one first down in the first quarter, and scoreless for the first half. The Rams defense punctuated the first half with a 32-yard fumble return for touchdown by Elijah Metzgar to take a big halftime lead en route to a 35-12 home win.
“I was just happy that we came out and played to our standard,” said Richland head coach Brandon Bailey. “Our kids did a great job on offense, defense, and special teams, getting a scoop and score with Elijah Metzgar there at the end of the half. I don’t think you could have played a much better first half of football.”
Matt Shaffer and Tanner Solarczyk led the way on the first two scoring drives for the Rams (2-0). Shaffer completed three passes for 20 yards and Solarczyk had four carries for 29 yards on the first drive that saw Richland use a quick tempo on offense. Shaffer capped the first drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.
On their second drive, the Rams did not need much time. They moved the ball 57 yards on four plays to push the lead to 3-0. Shaffer used a pump fake to freeze the defense then lofted a 43-yard pass over the Marauders’ defense to Luke Shertzer for the score. About the only thing that went wrong in the first half for Richland was a missed extra point.
The next drive saw a change at quarterback, with Nico Pecora entering the game, however, the results did not change.
Pecora hit Kyle Flick on a crossing route, and Flick scampered into the end zone for a 21-yard score to give the Rams a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.
“We like to speed it up,” said Bailey. “It’s high school football, and there are a lot of guys who go both ways. We try to get them out of breath and get up and down the field as fast as we can.”
Shaffer hit Shertzer for a 17-yard scoring strike late in the half to push the lead to 28-0. On the next offensive play for Bishop Guilfoyle (1-1), Metzgar capped the first half domination with his fumble recovery and run for a touchdown.
Bishop Guilfoyle scored two second-half touchdowns, but it was not nearly enough.
“I told the guys that Richland is a tremendous football team,” said Bishop Guilfoyle head coach Justin Wheeler. “We knew we had to play a great game, and we came out and had some mistakes early in the game that cost us. Richland is a team you can’t give mistakes to. They capitalized on all of our mistakes.”