Richland’s explosive offense helped turn a battle of previously unbeaten Laurel Highlands Conference squads into a rout Friday night at Herlinger Field as the Rams crushed visiting Bedford 53-3.
The Rams (3-0) reeled off an incredible 567 total yards, including 435 in the first half. “We wanted to come out and play at a fast pace,” said Richland head coach Brandon Bailey. “We got the ball in the hands of our playmakers and they were successful.”
Richland quarterback Matt Shaffer added to his area-leading passing total by completing 16 of 22 for 222 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for a game-high 127 yards on just six carries. “I couldn’t do anything without the 10 other guys out there on the field,” Shaffer said. “Coach Bailey and the staff do a great job of preparing us, and we all just play together and stay focused on our goals.”
“Matt Shaffer is one of the best quarterbacks in the state,” Bailey said. “He is strong, fast, and makes good decisions on the field.”
Tanner Solarczyk added 81 yards rushing and a pair of scores for the Rams.
Bedford (2-1) struggled on both sides of the ball as the Bisons managed just 123 yards of total offense. “It was a long night”, said Bedford head coach Kevin Steele. “Richland is a good team with lots of good athletes.”
“We didn’t do many things well tonight. We made too many mistakes and couldn’t get anything going offensively.”
Shaffer was 3-3 for 49 yards on the game’s opening drive, including a 14-yard scoring strike to Mario Rizzo. Solarczyk ran for the conversion and an 8-0 lead.
After a Bison three-and out, Solarczyk’s 26-yard run and a face mask penalty added onto the play set up a 14-yard touchdown dash by Nick Naglic. Shawn Gindlesberger’s first of four extra points made it 15-0.
Bedford recovered a subsequent onside kick attempt by the Rams, and two plays later a 26-yard pass from Austin Montgomery to Zach Shaffer put the Bisons in great field position. However, the drive stalled and Montgomery then drilled a 36-yard field goal to put Bedford on the board late in the first quarter.
The Rams were backed up at their own 5 to begin the second, but Shaffer broke free for a 70-yard gain to quickly erase that negative field position. Three plays later Shaffer hit Linnie Joy for a 10-yard score.
A bad punt snap into the end zone by Bedford gave the Rams a safety that extended their lead to 25-3 at the 7:22 mark, and after the free kick Richland needed just five plays to drive 64 yards for another touchdown, an 8-yard score by Solarczyk.
Another Bison three-and-out was answered by four-play Richland drive as Shaffer’s 21-yard run set up a 1-yard plunge by Killian Snopko with 2:49 left.
The Rams weren’t finished, as Richland took over on their own 37 at the 1:03 mark. Shaffer proceeded to complete 6 of 8 passes, capping off the series with an 8-yard touchdown to Kyle Flick as time expired to produce a 46-3 halftime edge.
Richland added one more score on their initial possession of the third as a 59-yard run by Dominic Farina led to Solarczyk’s 9-yard touchdown. Forrest Fordham’s extra point set the eventual final.
The Rams will attempt to keep their unbeaten streak intact next week at Johnstown.