The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

HS Sports Richland

November 15, 2012

Luke Shertzer is The Tribune-Democrat Athlete of the Week

JOHNSTOWN — Name: Luke Shertzer

School: Richland

Year: Senior

Sport: Football

Shertzer’s week: Shertzer, a 5-foot-10, 165- pound two-way starter, made six catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Richland offense in a 28-0 victory over Penn Cambria last Friday in the District 6 Class AA quarterfinals. Shertzer was also highly involved on the defensive side.

The cornerback had one interception and two passes defended while spending the majority of the game locked in man coverage against Nathan Keagy, the Panthers’ 6-6 receiver.

“As a defensive back, we think Luke is as good as they come in (the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference) and District 6,” Richland coach Brandon Bailey said. “His ability to make plays is outstanding. He’s a great player and a great kid.”

Shertzer has 37 receptions for 602 yards and six touchdowns on offense. Defensively, Shertzer has 40 tackles and a team-high five interceptions. 

“I really couldn’t decide if I like offense or defense better,” Shertzer said. “I don’t like to be off the field. It bothers me.”

One-handed jump start: Richland wanted to get off to a fast start against Penn Cambria, an opponent the Rams had played two weeks prior, and Shertzer delivered.

On the third play of the game, Shertzer reached out with one hand to catch a Matt Shaffer pass, tipped it to himself and ended up outracing the Penn Cambria secondary for a 58-yard touchdown.

“We needed to get off to a fast start. We wanted to get an early lead,” Bailey said. “Luke’s catch really did get us going.”

The play has already grown in legend during the week as top-seeded Richland (11-0) prepares for defending

District 6 Class AA champion Tyrone on Friday night at Richland High School.

“I just remember sticking my one hand out and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to catch it or not,” Shertzer said. “We watched it on film and it looked better than it felt in person.”

The fun bunch: Shertzer plays basketball and runs track, but for him, there’s nothing like being a part of the first Richland team to win a Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference championship.

These Rams are also the first in team history to win their first 11 games of a season.

Part of that success can be attributed to a high-powered, balanced offense that averages more than 400 yards per game and has topped 40 points on four occasions.

“It’s so much fun being a part of this offense,” Shertzer said. “We’ve all been working hard since the spring, and it created a bond. It also helped us know our roles.”

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