PIAA Class 6A semifinals capsule: Pine-Richland vs. St. Joseph’s Prep
Pine-Richland (11-2) vs. St. Joseph’s Prep (11-0)
1 p.m. Saturday at Altoona’s Mansion Park
Winner plays: Coatesville (14-0) or Harrisburg (12-1)
Coaches: Eric Kasperowicz, Pine-Richland; Gabe Infante, St. Joseph’s Prep
Passing: PR: Cole Spencer 118-195-1,420 yards, 15 TDs, 4 INTs; SJ: Kyle McCord 154-235-2299 yards, 30 TDs
Rushing: PR: Luke Meckler 174-1,478 yards, 18 TDs; SJ: Kolbe Burrell 121-686 yards, 9 TDs
Receiving: PR: Luke Miller 27-370 yards, 5 TDs; SJ: Johnny Freeman 42-691 yards, 10 TDs
How they got here: Pine-Richland defeated District 6 champion State College, 56-33, in the PIAA quarterfinals, and topped Seneca Valley, 34-17, in the WPIAL championship. St. Joseph’s Prep won 42-14 over District 11 champion Freedom in the PIAA quarterfinals and had a 49-14 win over Northeast in the District 12 championship game.
Extra points: In a rematch of last year’s Class 6A state championship game, Pine-Richland will look to get the better of St. Joseph’s Prep again after winning 41-21 a season ago. It was Pine-Richland’s first state title. The Rams and Hawks also met in the state championship in 2014, with the Hawks winning 49-41. The Rams are vying for their fourth state championship appearance and third since 2014. Behind an offensive line that features two Division I recruits — Michael Katic (Indiana) and Andrew Kristofic (Notre Dame) — Meckler has rushed for 436 yards and five touchdowns in three playoff games. Spencer, a sophomore, accounted for four touchdowns in the WPIAL championship win. Pine-Richland averages a WPIAL Class 6A-best 37 points per game. The Rams allow 16 points per game. … St. Joseph’s Prep is seeking a third consecutive trip to state championship and fifth since 2013. The Hawks are ranked ninth nationally by USA Today. They won state titles in 2013, ’14 and ’16, beating Central Catholic twice and Pine-Richland once. McCord, a sophomore, is the son of former Rutgers quarterback Derek McCord. He was the only freshman in the country invited to the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp in the spring and has 11 Division I offers, including Michigan, Penn State, West Virginia, Arizona and Baylor. One of McCord’s top targets is Marvin Harrison, Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Indianapolis Colts receiver Marvin Harrison. Harrison has 38 receptions for 569 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He has offers from Florida and Syracuse. Jeremiah Trotter, Jr., a sophomore linebacker, is the son of former Eagles standout Jeremiah Trotter. He has offers from Maryland and Temple.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.