Friday Night Rivals Week 5 features Class 6A showdown with defending state champs

PITTSBURGH -- The C. Harper Auto Group Friday Night Rivals Powered by IGS Energy season hones in on the largest classification in the WPIAL this week featuring Pine-Richland - the PIAA defending state champs in Class 6A - hosting perennial power Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

The Rams host the Vikings in a pivotal regular season matchup live at 7 p.m. on 22 the Point and streaming live on 22thepoint.com. The 22 the Point broadcast is also airing nationally on the Stadium network.

"We are humbled and honored to be on Friday Night Rivals once again this year and we are proud to represent the Pine-Richland School District versus one of our longtime rivals," Pine-Richland Head Coach Eric Kasperowicz tells 22 the Point.

Fresh off of a 2017 undefeated season, WPIAL championship and first PIAA title, the Rams entered this new campaign as one of the favorites in the state's biggest classification, despite sending several players to the college ranks including quarterback Phil Jurkovec, now a freshman at Notre Dame.

Now under center is sophomore Cole Spencer, one of the top wrestlers in the state at 152 pounds. Spencer has helped lead the Rams to a 4-1 start, with their only blemish coming in an opening week 42-0 loss to IMG Academy, the top-ranked team in the nation.

Spencer has plenty of support in front of him including an offensive line considered to be tops in the state, with senior tackle Andrew Kristofic committed to Notre Dame, guard Michael Katic committed to Indiana University in the Big Ten and center Michael Dorundo.

Pine-Richland lost several playmakers from the 2017 title team but has scored more than 40 points in four straight games, with the defense only giving up 21 points in those four victories.

Central Catholic is looking to get back to its usual winning ways against the other WPIAL heavyweights. Following two losses to Pine-Richland last season - in the regular season and in the WPIAL Championship game at Heinz Field - longtime leader Terry Totten is in the middle of a reloading campaign following a 2016 WPIAL championship and state runner-up finish.

The Vikings held on for a 7-6 win last week over Bethel Park and enter the contest 4-1, their only defeat coming at the hands of North Allegheny in a Week 2 matchup.

Before the game, Pine-Richland Head Coach Eric Kasperowicz will be honored by USA Football in a ceremony at the 50-yard line. Kasperowicz was recently selected to coach in the USA Football International Bowl in Arlington, Texas in January, a showcase featuring the top high school football players from the United States against the best from around the world.

TIME: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

WATCH: 22 the Point (WPNT) (Comcast 812, Dish/DirecTV 22, Verizon FiOS 510, Armstrong 105, Atlantic Broadband 707, Laurel Highlands 422, Citizens 812, Consolidated 710, Shentel 207, Time/Warner 1022)

ONLINE: The broadcast will stream on http://22thepoint.com/.

ANNOUNCERS: Geoff Arnold (play-by-play), Josh Maurer (analyst), Jordan Conigliaro (sidelines).

SOCIAL MEDIA: #FridayNightRivalsPGH, @22ThePoint, @JordanC_WPGH.

2018 PITTSBURGH FRIDAY NIGHT RIVALS SCHEDULE

***ALL GAMES AT 7 P.M. ON 22 THE POINT, WPNT-TV***

Friday Sept 28 Central Catholic at Pine-Richland

Friday Oct 5 Gateway at Franklin Regional

Friday Oct 12 Hopewell at Central Valley

Friday Oct 19 Bethel Park at Peters Township

Friday Oct 26 Pine-Richland at North Allegheny