Week Five of WJAC’s Friday Night Rivals presented by your Local Honda Dealers continues as Richland will travel to Somerset Area Friday night at 7 p.m. on WJAC MeTV.
Somerset Area, led by Head Coach Bob Landis, fell to 1-3 after a 41-14 loss at the hands of Forest Hills. Trailing 27-0 at halftime, the Eagles were able to put 14 points on the board in the second half, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome five rushing touchdowns from Forest Hills. Richland continued their hot start to the season, improving to 4-0 after 64-20 road victory at Greater Johnstown. It was another big offensive output for the Rams, amassing nine touchdowns in the win.
Somerset’s lone victory came back in Week Two, a 19-16 triumph over rival Bishop McCort. The Eagles scored all 19 of their points in the second half to come away victorious. Offensive struggles were an issue in the other two Eagles losses, a 17-0 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle and a 41-9 trouncing by Chestnut Ridge.
Richland has been dominant thus far, winning each game by at least 29 points. The Rams opened the year with a 49-0 win over Bishop McCort and followed it with back-to-back 29 point victories over Cambria Heights and Forest Hills.
Somerset, led by Dustin Hyde’s 234 rushing yards and four scores, will need to generate some more offense if they hope to keep up with Richland. On the season, the Eagles have scored just 42 points in four games. Throwing the ball has been a struggle, as both Spencer Yutzy and Brad Barndt have completed less than 40 percent of their throws. Tyler Rios is the leading tackler, averaging just over ten tackles per game for the Eagles.
On the other side, Richland has had very little issue scoring so far this year, accumulating over 200 points scored through four games. Senior QB Joe Hauser has been strong, leading the way with 951 passing yards and 14 touchdown tosses. The Rams balanced attack has run for exactly 1,000 yards so far this season, led by 320 from Teon Reed to go with three touchdowns. Caleb Burke is the favorite target of Hauser, hauling in 23 catches for over 500 yards and 10 TD’s.
The defense for the Rams has allowed just over 50 points through four games and has three defenders with at least 24 tackles. Zack Vogelsberger leads the way with 27 stops. They have made big plays when needed as well, registering seven sacks and forcing eight turnovers, thus far.
Richland will look to stay undefeated in 2018 with a victory over Somerset. MaxPreps rankings have the Rams just outside the top-50 out of all Pennsylvania teams. In what has been a slow start to the year, an upset victory over Richland could be a gigantic boost of confidence for the Eagles moving forward.
The Rams have scored 87 more points than the second highest total in the Laurel Highlands Conference so far this year. Chestnut Ridge is the other remaining unbeaten in the conference and those teams will meet in the final week of the regular season. Brandon Bailey’s team has already matched their win total from a season ago and are looking to end a streak of four straight losing seasons.
TIME: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21.
WATCH: WJAC 6.2 Me TV (6.2 over-the-air, Comcast 110-187-202-248, Armstrong 410, Atlantic Broadband 110, Windstream 16, Laurel Highland 15) Johnstown/Altoona/State College
ANNOUNCERS: Brian Tripp (play-by-play), Rick Hull (analyst), Josh Kurelac (sidelines).
2018 JOHNSTOWN FRIDAY NIGHT RIVALS SCHEDULE
***ALL GAMES AT 7 P.M. ON WJAC Me TV
Friday Sept 21 Richland at Somerset Area
Friday Sept 28 Bishop McCort at Greater Johnstown
Friday Oct 5 Chestnut Ridge at Bedford
Friday Oct 12 Bishop Guilfoyle at Forest Hills
Friday Oct 19 Altoona Area at State College Area
Friday Oct 26 Bishop Guilfoyle at Bishop McCort