Video by Brandon Faust
HERSHEY, PA -
Pine-Richland star quarterback Phil Jurkovec ran for four touchdowns as the Pine-Richland Rams won the school's first ever state title by defeating the defending champion St. Joseph's Prep Hawks, 41-24, in the PIAA 6A state championship game. Jurkovec, who is ranked the 8th best high school quarterback in the country, had touchdown runs of 1-yard in the first quarter, 17 yards in the 2nd quarter, and 13 and 6 yards, respectively, in the third quarter. Then he connected with Ben Jochem on a 25-yard touchdown pass late in the 3rd to seal the victory.
Pine-Richland, who finishes the season 16-0, managed to avenge their 49-41 loss to St. Joseph's Prep in the 2014 4A state championship, the second and last time the school made a state title appearance. The Rams had lost to Manheim Central in the 3A state championship, 39-38, in 2003 in their other previous state championship appearance.
St. Joseph's Prep, who won their first state title in their first PIAA championship appearance in 2014, also won the 6A championship last year over Pittsburgh's Central Catholic. The Hawks had come into this game a perfect 13-0 and had victories over great programs like Tampa Jesuit in Florida, St. Peter's Prep in North Jersey and Archbishop Wood & La Salle within their own Philadelphia Catholic League.
Jurkovec, who is off to Notre Dame to play quarterback for the Irish next year, finishes his stellar career with the state title. St. Joseph's Prep, who finishes their season 13-1, also loses their star senior quarterback Marquez McCray, but running back Kolbe Burrell is only a sophomore and ran for almost 1,000 yards this year. Start middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, Jr., the son of the former NFL linebacker, is only a freshman and another running back, Marques Mason, who scored a touchdown in the championship game, is only a junior.
So despite both teams losing their starting quarterbacks, look for both these teams, especially St. Joseph's Prep, to be right back in the mix for a state title in 2018.
Photo Credit: Christopher Brown