With three Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference heavyweights on the final four weeks of Richland’s regular-season schedule, the unbeaten Rams passed their first test on Friday at Herlinger Field as they blanked Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic 36-0.
The Rams (7-0) steadily built their lead while limiting the Marauders offense to seven first downs throughout the course of Friday’s game.
“I was proud of the effort,” Richland coach Brandon Bailey said. “Any time you can shut out a good football team. (Bishop Guilfoyle has) a very good defense, and they’ve proved that throughout the season.
“We were able to do what we wanted for the most part, so I was happy with that. Any time you get the win, you move on, you’re happy and you start preparing for the next team.”
Richland opened the game – and the scoring – with a nine-play, 74-yard drive as six different players got touches before Lucas Sabol bulled his way in from the 4.
A holding penalty on what could have been a fourth-down conversion for a long touchdown stalled the Rams’ next drive, but the hosts were able to expand on their lead five plays later when Caleb Burke scooped up a punt at his own 29 before jetting through and around the Bishop Guilfoyle punt coverage on his was to a 71-yard score.
“Caleb makes plays,” Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler said. “That’s what he does. We tried not to kick it to him, but with high school kids that sometimes happens. He made some plays early for them on special teams, but I thought that kind of set the tone a little bit. And we weren’t able to respond like we wanted to.”
Richland kept the pressure on, building a 26-point lead at intermission thanks to two touchdown passes from Kellan Stahl.
The first finished off a six-play march with Koby Bailey on the receiving end of the 12-yard Stahl strike. Autumn Facci connected on the first of her three point-after kicks to make it 19-0.
Another six-play possession led to Stahl’s 20-yard scoring toss to Burke with 2:30 left in the first half.
Richland tied a bow on the game in the third, using a 1-yard run from Sabol to go up 33 points. Facci’s field goal from 33 yards away late in the third set the final and activated the running clock.
The Marauders’ best chance at points came during the fourth when they took the ball to the Richland 13 before turning the ball over on downs.
As a team, Bishop Guilfoyle rushed for 80 yards, well below its season average of 245.2 yards per game.
The stout Rams defense pitched its second shutout of the season.
“We have really good football players, and we put them in a position to have success,” Bailey said. “They play hungry. They did a great job, from our guys on the defensive lines, to the linebackers to the defensive backs.”
The Rams’ season-closing grinder continues as they travel to one-loss Bedford next week. Two weeks after that, they’ll welcome current unbeaten Chestnut Ridge to Herlinger Field.
“We knew coming into this back half of the season that we had some teams that have some winning records,” Bailey said.