Battle between Laurel Highlands top teams caps off Friday Night Rivals season

WJAC’s Friday Night Rivals presented by your Local Honda Dealers brings a fantastic finale as undefeated Richland travels to one-loss Chestnut Ridge on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Yet to be knocked off and tearing through the opposition, Richland enters at 9-0 after a 36-0 rout of Penn Cambria in their penultimate regular season contest. Chestnut RIdge enters at 8-1 after dropping their first contest of the season to Bishop Guilfoyle on Friday night, 12-0. Teon Reed ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns as Richland scored all 36 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the win. Chestnut Ridge was unable to find the end zone despite averaging over five yards per carry.

Brandon Bailey’s Richland Rams are led by senior QB Joe Hauser. Hauser is completing nearly 60 percent of his throws, accumulating 2,140 yards passing and 27 touchdowns. Adding another 221 yards per game on the ground, Richland is averaging over 7.5 yards per carry as a team. Reed is the leading rusher with 663 yards and seven touchdowns. Five different players have at least 145 rushing yards for the Rams. Zack Vogelsberger has a nose for the end zone, scoring on ten of his 52 carries. Keeping up with the theme of depth, five different players have at least 163 receiving yards for Richland. Caleb Burke has been outstanding, catching 51 balls for 920 yards and 13 touchdowns. Trevor Tustin averages over 23 yards per catch and has scored six times.

Not as prolific offensively, Chestnut Ridge averages around 26 points per contest. Sophomore QB Logan Pfister has thrown for 1,079 yards and eight scores. Pfister and Jared McGill have both carried the ball over 100 times. Pfister has added 674 yards and nine touchdowns while McGill is right behind with 669 yards and nine scores. Pfister spreads the ball around, as the Lions have four targets between 11 and 18 receptions. Derrick Weaver leads the group with 340 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

As good as they offensively, Richland allows just 9.7 points per game defensively. They shut out three opponents this season and allowed 20 or more points just three times. Lucas Sabol leads the team with 78 tackles followed by Jacob Sabol with 72. As a team, Richland averages three sacks per game and Vogelsberger leads the bunch with eight on the year. The Rams have forced 20 turnovers this season, led by Jordan Kocsis’ three interceptions.

Chestnut Ridge has been even better defensively than Richland, allowing just 8.4 points per game. Max Shoemaker’s Lions have two shutouts and haven’t allowed a team to score more than two touchdowns in a game this year. Trey Maxwell leads the stout defense with 69 tackles. Brodie Harbaugh has found his way into the backfield with eight tackles for loss and three sacks. The Lions shut you down more than turn you over with just 11 takeaways on the season. Jacob Mowry leads the team with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

What a turnaround it has been for Richland after a 4-6 season a year ago, getting back to the identity of the teams that won 36 games between 2011 and 2013 under Bailey. Chestnut Ridge has been very good for the third straight year winning ten and nine games respectively over the past two campaigns. This game will ultimately decide the Laurel Highlands Conference championship as the pair sit just a game apart in the standings.

TIME: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26th



ANNOUNCERS: Phil Schoener (play-by-play), Collin Riccobon (analyst), Jeff Jezewski (sidelines).



Friday Oct 26 Central Dauphin at CD East