Along the way, Mercury Swaim put up numbers on both offense and defense that earned him Tribune-Democrat Player of the Year honors. Swaim led the area with 1,578 passing yards, completing 97 of 168 passes for 18 TDs and nine interceptions. The dual-threat athlete was third in the area with 1,141 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. Swaim had 2,719 total yards and 116 points.
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Most coaches in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference and throughout the area took notice. Connor Rager earned Tribune-Democrat Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020.
But junior quarterback Kellan Stahl ran for three of his four rushing touchdowns in the final quarter, and the Rams defense forced multiple turnovers in a 27-6 victory. Richland (8-1) won its third consecutive 6-AA title in a season of uncertainty impacted by the coronavirus.
Cambria Heights will make its first trip to the District 6 Class AA football championship game on Friday night. Conversely, Richland is quite familiar with the drive to Mansion Park in Altoona.
Cambria Heights junior Ryan Haluska carried the ball 30 times for 198 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 41-6 Highlanders victory Saturday night against Greater Johnstown.
Caleb Burke and his Richland High School teammates experienced both ends of the high school football spectrum during the past four seasons.
Chestnut Ridge coach Max Shoemaker once labeled his senior defensive end Duane Knisely a “man-child” during the 2019 football season.
Tyler Trybus and the Cambria Heights Highlanders made a little bit of history on Friday night.