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Talented linemen, experienced RB boost expecations for Pine-Richland

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 9:04 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pine-Richland lineman T.J. Muzzonigro. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Pine-Richland tight end C.J. Jackson. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

If there is a positive the Pine-Richland football team can take into the season ahead, it is how it finished last year.

The Rams concluded the season with three straight convincing wins, two of which came against perennial playoff contenders Woodland Hills and Shaler.

“We will build off of that,” Pine-Richland coach Clair Altemus said. “How we started was nothing like how we finished.”

The strong finish, coupled with what should be a strong offensive line, will be the foundation for what the Rams do this season.

If running back Brock Baranowski remains healthy, Altemus believes he should improve on a 1,000-yard, 13-touchdown season from a year ago.

Altemus said he has to find a pair of guards, but what he does have is a big tackle in T.J. Muzzonigro, a Division I recruit in center Pat Kline and a bookend tackle with Mike Kiefer.

The power up front does not end there, as tight end C.J. Jackson (6-foot-3, 206 pounds) will help bully the opposition's front seven.

The plan is to flip that powerful offensive line over to defense as much as possible to get some push the other way, as well.

Altemus is searching for depth as camp winds down so he does not have to wear his big men out.

If the push up front is as potent as Altemus expects, he will offer a healthy dose of Baranowski.

“I know how good Forrest (Barnes) is up at Seneca Valley, but I think Brock is the best back in the conference,” Altemus said. “He can go north-south or east-west, and he had a huge winter in the weight room. I think he will be able to push people back, something that will be huge for us.”

Baranowski's skill and the strength of the line will be aided by the emergence of fullback Nate Roberts, who will add to the Rams' ability to clear running lanes.

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