When Jeff Ackermann took over the coaching duties at Pine-Richland last July, he said there was no reason the Rams couldn't compete for a playoff spot, this despite the program not having qualified for the postseason since 2011.
As it turns out, the Rams did more than just compete. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they were playing like a championship contender until seeing their season end in a 49-35 upset loss against Fox Chapel in a WPIAL Class AAAA first-round game last Wednesday.
Pine-Richland went 17-5 overall and placed second in Section AAAA with a 9-3 record. It was the most wins compiled by a Rams team since they finished 18-9 and reached the WPIAL semifinals in 2007.
"If you would have told me before the season that we'd finish 17-5, I would have taken it and I would have ran with it," Ackermann said. "Obviously, I didn't expect we'd lose in the first round, but I thought going into the playoffs that we were as good as anyone and had a chance to win a championship."