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October 12, 2013

Rams, Hilltoppers tangle in city battle

After a little fourth-quarter magic last week against Somerset, third-ranked Richland remains on course for an unbeaten regular season with an eye on the looming postseason.

The Rams (6-0) have rolled to 209 points over the last four weeks, surviving the Golden Eagles 28-24 win in Week 6 with a last-minute touchdown after trailing Somerset for most of the game in a matchup of unbeatens in the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference.

With a trip across town to Westmont Hilltop (0-6) this afternoon, the Rams finish the season with dates with Penn Cambria in Week 8, followed by Central Cambria before a finale with Bellwood-Antis.

Kickoff today is set for 1 p.m. In other area action, Blacklick Valley visits Ferndale – which returns to the field after a two-week hiatus due to numbers – at 1 p.m.,  while Cambria Heights makes the trip to Loretto for a LHAC matchup with Bishop Carroll. Kickoff at St. Francis is at 7.

 Failure to keep early momentum has haunted the Hilltoppers all season, as they were able to stay with Bishop McCort last Saturday before having a pair of deep first-half drives stalled by interceptions in a

55-20 loss to the Crushers. Bigger problems will loom for the Westmont today, as Rams quarterback Matt Shaffer has completed 74 of 125 passes for 1,255 yards and 18 touchdowns. In the backfield, Tanner Solarczyk has 797 yards and 11 TDs on 86 carries facing a team that has had trouble stopping the big play.

Kyle Flick lead the Rams’ receivers with  26 catches for 529 yards and 15 scores.

The Hilltoppers are led offensively by duo Sam Curry and Liam Moran, who both are used in a slash-type role. Moran has been more of the passer, completing 52 of 95 passes for 675 yards and six TDs. Curry has rushed for 625 yards and five scores on 125 carries this season, Moran has carried the ball 58 ties 153 yards and two TDs. Westmont’s leading receiver is Colin Barron, who has 29 grabs for 397 yards and five scores entering today’s game against the Rams.

Defensively, Jacob Urban is a force with the Rams with 68 tackles, followed by 46 from Elijah Metzgar and 44 from Jared Hoover. Barron leads Westmont with 48 stops, as the Hilltoppers have four others with 30-plus tackles through six weeks.

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