Richland scored on all six of its first-half possessions Friday night and beat Somerset 43-14.
“We didn’t punt today,” Richland coach Brandon Bailey said. “We spread it around. A lot of different kids saw the ball and had an impact when they got it.”
Somerset fumbled the opening kickoff, setting up Richland’s first score – a 10-yard completion from Jordan Cinko to Alex Walton. The Rams led 7-0 after the extra point by Greg Sichak.
“Problems with this game happened a whole lot earlier than that,” Somerset coach Steve Costea said of the fumble. “We got banged up last week, and we’re missing a lot of players out there.”
Richland marched down the field again on its second drive before John Rizzo capped the 7-play march with a 6-yard touchdown run.
The Rams forced another three-and-out before Walton finished off a nine-play scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Somerset drove the ball on its fourth possession as Nicholas Roth connected with Jordan Wilkow for 12 yards and Michael Flyte for 26 yards, but the Golden Eagles’ drive was brought to a halt when Roth fumbled while handing off on fourth-and-2.
Richland made the most of the turnover when Cinko threw a pass over the top to Kyle Flick for a 49-yard touchdown. The Rams led 29-0 after a bad snap that saw holder Drew Mihalik convert a pass to Mario Rizzo on a broken extra-point attempt.
Roth then threw an interception to Richland’s Luke Rozich. Rozich scored on a 25-yard end around three plays later.
With a minute remaining in the first half, Cinko threw a flare pass to Rizzo who did the rest, chugging for a 74-yard touchdown. Cinko finished the game with 211 yards passing and three touchdowns.
“We were 1 of 10 passing against McCort (last week in a loss),” Bailey said. “We continued to work at it and I think Jordan did a good job today passing.”
“We had some ineffectiveness at quarterback. We had a boy who left the team at quarterback, and we took (Cinko) who was a running back and we made him into a quarterback.”
The big lead put a running clock into effect as the Rams coasted in the second half to a 43-14 victory. Somerset showed resiliency as Philip Ickes broke a 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter before Tanner Sarver punched in a 1-yard touchdown run against Richland’s second-unit.
“We had a lot of young guys out there for the first half,” Costea said. “And they were a little overwhelmed in the first half. They were welcomed to varsity football in a hurry. Experience was gained, but that’s about all we gained tonight.”
Somerset dropped to 0-6 on the season while Richland improved to 2-4 after a brutal schedule that saw losses to Bishop Carroll, Forest Hills, Johnstown, and Bishop McCort and a win over Bedford.
“Our schedule was certainly tough facing four defending district title winners,” Bailey said. “We came out of it 1-4, and we knew that we had to keep pressing forward and our time would come, and we played well tonight. You’ve got to take it one at a time.”