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Phil Jurkovec leads the Rams to a date in Hershey-Expanded Photo Gallery

Written by: on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017. Follow Staff on Twitter.



It’s a rematch 3 years in the making. In the 2014 PIAA Class 4A title game Pine-Richland and St. Joseph’s battled to the very end. The Hawks held on as Ben Dinucci’s last chance pass attempt for a 2 point conversion was intercepted, securing the win for St. Joseph’s  that year. “Heck yeah, we’re ready. They’re the kings, they’ve won the state title 3 of the past five years” said Ram head coach Eric Kasperowicz. Pine-Richland used their usual quick strike offense, aided by 5 Manheim Township turnovers, to pull away from “a tough and scrappy team” (as Kasperowicz called them) and get the 28-7 win. Phil Jurkovec led the Rams throwing for 244 yards and running for another 70, taking part in all four scores.

The first turnover came  just 3 plays into the game when Anthony Cerminaro stripped the ball from Blue Streak qb Luke Emge, and Cam Ballay recovered it at the Manheim 17. Three plays later Raymond Falcone hauled in a 6 yard td pass from Jurkovec.

Pine-Richland would score again with 2:44 left in the first quarter. Jurkovec found Crawford wide open to his left near the end zone and put the ball right on the money for a 33 yard scoring strike. This time Vitorrio Orsini hit the point after giving the Rams a 13-0 lead.

The rest of the first half was a battle of field position as each team made key fourth down stops throughout the half. The Blue Streaks let a scoring opportunity slip through their hands late in the second quarter when they blocked a Ram punt deep in Manheim territory. They recovered at the 14, but the drive never hit the endzone. Emge’s pass on fourth down fell incomplete. “That was a big opportunity we let get away” said Manheim Twp coach Mike Evans. “We score there and it’s 13-7 maybe. We put good pressure on their quarterback, I think we sacked him 3 times.”

But for as slow as the first half felt, the second opened with a bang. Township stopped the Rams on the opening drive and went on a 12 play drive that was capped by this 15 yard td run by Grayson Sallade cutting the lead to 13-7:


That td seemed to ignite the Rams. Jurkovec led his team straight to the endzone in just under 2 minutes, a drive capped by a 25 yard td run from Crawford making it 21-7 after Jurkovecs 2 point conversion run.  Just 2 plays later Manheim again fumbled. The Rams recovered at the 31 where Jurkovec called his own number, going straight up the middle for his third score of the night.

“Hey, we held them to their lowest total of the year” said Mike Evans. “I’m proud of this squad and what they did today. We just made too many mistakes turning the ball over, you can’t do that and win.” “That’s a good team, they played extremely scrappy and tough said Kasperowicz. “They played cover zero and that was risky and they pulled it off for a while but credit my staff they were able to make the second half adjustments.


Pine-Richland racked up 385 yards of offense. This was Manheim-Township’s first trip to the Semi-Final round of the playoffs. Emge threw for 164 yards.

The Rams will face St. Joseph’s for the PIAA 6A Title on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6 pm.


(Photos by Chuck Meyers,


Manheim sacks Jurkovec


Benjamin big reception

Crawford 25 yard td


Jurkovec 31 yard td run

Rece Bender Interception




First down Township



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