PATTON - Coming off a 5-5 season with nine starters returning on each side of the ball, Cambria Heights eagerly anticipated the start of the 2012 campaign.
Fans packed the home side, many wearing white T-shirts with the phrase "Don't Stop Believing" in red letters on the back. A burst of fireworks greeted the players as they ran on the field.
Richland quickly put a damper on the enthusiasm, however, getting out to an early 14-0 on its way to a 38-20 victory Friday at Patton Stadium.
Rams junior wideout Kyle Flick ran wild through the Cambria Heights secondary, hauling in 10 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns from two different Richland quarterbacks.
"Kyle's a three-year starter. He's been starting since he was a freshman," Richland coach Brandon Bailey said. "He had a great game. He worked on his speed over the summer, and it really showed."
Richland's first two touchdowns came on the ground, though.
After Tanner Solarczyk capped a 9-play drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to open the game, quarterback Matt Shaffer finished off a 10-play drive with a 3-yard keeper to put Richland up 14-0 before the Highlanders had a first down.
"We didn't come out very good to start the game," Heights coach Jarrod Lewis said. "They were a little hungrier than our team early on."
Heights struck quickly early in the second quarter to cut the Rams' lead in half. Nathan Bearer found Andrew Brawley streaking through the middle of the Richland secondary for a 48-yard touchdown.
Richland answered with a long touchdown of its own. Nico Pecora hit Flick open deep along the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3 to make it a 20-7 game.
A Tyler Crawford fumble gave Richland the ball near midfield late in the first half.
"We didn't make our breaks count. They made the plays. We didn't," Lewis said.
Flick took a swing pass from Shaffer for a 27-yard touchdown and a 26-7 lead.
"Our defense got the ball back, and we put it in Kyle's hands again," Bailey said.
Brawley hauled in another deep pass from Bearer for a 40-yard score on the opening drive of the second half to cut the Richland in half once again, 26-13.
The Rams countered with two more long scores to put the game away, however.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Richland14 12 12 0 - 38
Cambria Heights0 7 6 7 - 20
R-Solarczyk 5 run (Colvin kick), 7:20.
R-Shaffer 3 run (Colvin kick), 1:20.
CH-Brawley 48 pass from Bearer (Irwin kick), 11:31.
R-Flick 40 pass from Pecora (kick failed), 8:42.
R-Flick 27 pass Shaffer (pass failed), :49
CH-Brawley 40 pass from Bearer (kick failed), 8:02.
R-Flick 35 pass from Pecora (run failed), 5:37.
R-Farina 30 run (pass failed), :23.
CH-Myers 41 pass from Bearer (Irwin kick), 2:02.
RUSHING: Richland-Solarczyk 11-67, Shaffer 8-54, Farina 4-29, Snopko 2-10, Hoover 1-3, Pecora 2-4, Naglic 1-1, Bergman 2-7, George 1-0, TEAM 1-(-8),. Cambria Heights-Crawford 6-30, Myers 4-16, Contorchick 12-84, Bearer 7-(-16).
PASSING: Richland-Shaffer 12-14-163-1, Pecora 5-8-117-0, Bergman 1-2-5-0. Cambria Heights-Bearer 5-7-141-0, Myers 1-2-35-0.
RECEIVING: Richland-Flick 10-204, Rizzo 1-7, Shertzer 2-33, Solarczyk 1-113, Hanley 2-12, Joy 2-16. Cambria Heights-Brawley 3-123, Myers 3-53.
INTERCEPTIONS: Cambria Heights-Brawley.