Second half sinks State
GREENSBURG — State College headed to the second half against Pine-Richland happily deadlocked on Saturday, just like the teams had begun the game.
Then all of a sudden, the Little Lions were down a pair of touchdowns and never recovered.
Phil Jurkovec passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 119 yards and two more scores to lead WPIAL champion Pine-Richland to a 49-21 victory in a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinals-round football game at Hempfield High School.
“We gave them a great effort, especially in the first half, and we were exactly where we hoped we would be,” State College coach Matt Lintal said. “Obviously, the ball bounces one way or another. If you make any mistakes, they make you pay for it.”
Jurkovec, who advanced one spot to fourth place on the WPIAL all-time passing list with 7,771 yards, connected with Dawson Goltz on a pair of scoring strikes covering 39 and 12 yards and threw a 23-yarder to Ben Jochem.
Pine-Richland took the lead for good by scoring twice in the first two minutes of the second half on two Jurkovec touchdown passes to break a 14-14 tie.
The Rams took advantage of a State College gamble that saw the Little Lions try an onsides kick to start the half.
But Goltz recovered the ball and Jurkovec went to work again, completing a 20-yard pass to Jochem before finding Goltz on the 39-yard scoring strike on the next play to give the Rams a 21-14 lead.
“We were telling our kids to watch for an onsides,” Pine-Richland coach Eric Kasperowicz said. “I didn’t think they’d actually do it, but they made a gutsy call there. We had a guy (Goltz) pop on the ball and give us a short field, and the offense made them pay.”
Lintal said there were no regrets about the daring decision.
“You know what you’re up against and you take some chances,” he said. “Obviously, we did with the fake punt (later for a first down) and that paid off.
“You’ve got to give your kids some opportunities to go out and make plays. That’s been a pretty high-percetage thing for us throughout the year and we felt alright about it. The kick went a little deep and the kid made a nice play on it.”
Pine-Richland added another touchdown 19 seconds later after Kenny White intercepted a pass by State College quarterback Tommy Friberg on the Little Lions first play of the second half.
Jurkovec later converted a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jochem and all of a sudden, the Rams led 28-14.
Jordan Crawford added 112 yards rushing and a touchdown for Pine-Richland.
When it comes to football wizardry, there figure to be plenty more opportunities to torture opponents for Jurkovec, beginning with the PIAA Class 6A semifinals next weekend.
Friberg, a 6-foot-5 junior, threw three touchdown passes — two to Brandon Clark — to lead District 6 champion State College (10-3). Friberg finished 11 of 31 for 188 yards passing for the Little Lions to give him 2,024 yards for the season.
Clark, headed to Penn State as a non-scholarship walk-on, caught a 23-yard scoring pass from Friberg with 1:25 to go to tie the score at 7-7.
Friberg’s 6-yard scoring pass to Jeremy Bullock with 1:47 left in the third cut the State College deficit to 35-21, but Pine-Richland answered with just 21 seconds to go on a 7-yard scoring run by Jurkovec.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Pine-Richland 7 7 28 7–49
State College 7 7 7 0–21
PR–Jurkovec 58 run (Orsini kick), 4:47
SC–Clark 23 pass from Friberg (Renfrew kick), 1:25
PR–White 1 run (Orsini kick), 7:32
SC–Clark 4 pass from Friberg (Renfew kick), 0:57
PR–Goltz 39 pass from Jurkovec (Orsini kick), 11:11
PR–Jochem 23 pass from Jurkovec (Orsini kick), 10:52
PR–Goltz 12 pass from Jurkovec (Orisini kick), 5:16
SC–Bullock 6 pass from Friberg (Renfrew kick), 1:47
PR–Jurkovec 7 run (Orsini kick), :21.7
PR–Crawford 1 run (Orsini kick), 8:40
RUSHING: State College–Lyons 21-77, Russell 3-23 Friberg 11-14. Pine-Richland–Jurkovic 16-119, Crawford 18-112, White 10-94, Burns 1-18, Ballay 1-7, Goltz 1-4, Team 3-(-3).
PASSING: State College–Friberg 11-31-3-188, Russell 1-1-0-12. Pine-Richland–Jurkovec 19-24-0-252.
RECEIVING: State College–Clark 7-175, Lyons 2-8, Lusk 1-12, Bullock 1-6, Russell 1-(-1). Pine-Richland–Jochem 5-86, Goltz 5-77, Falcone 4-56, DeFrancisis 3-22, Cafardi 1-10, Crawford 1-1.
INTERCEPTIONS: State College–None. Pine-Richland–Goltz, White, Falcone.TEAM STATISTICS SC PR
First downs 13 22
Rushes-yards 35-114 50-351
Passing (comp.-att.-int.) 12-32-3 19-24-0
Yards passing 200 252
Total yards 314 603
Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-3
Penalties-yards 4-30 10-103
Punts-avg. 6-45.5 3-31.3