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High School Spotlight

November 28, 2010

PITTSBURGH – North Allegheny’s black and gold uniforms bore that of a slightly old-school look, with a triple stripe pattern on the sleeve and a thick double stripe pant pattern.

And for the first 24 minutes of the WPIAL AAAA championship game, North Allegheny gave Woodland Hills an old-fashioned butt kicking. However, it nearly wasn’t enough.

 

The Tigers’ Clay Bunting intercepted Wolverine quarterback Pat Menifee with 17 seconds left in the game to preserve North Allegheny’s (12-1) 21-14 victory despite a furious comeback effort by Woodland Hills (9-4). With the victory, the Tigers will advance to the PIAA playoffs, where they will face District 6/9/10 AAAA subregional champion State College Area (7-6) Friday, December 3 at Pine-Richland High School.

 

The WPIAL championship victory was North Allegheny’s first since 1990 and second title in six appearances since 1983. The 21 points scored was the most NA scored in any of those appearances, topping a 15-point effort in the 1996 title tilt against, of all teams, Woodland Hills.

And Tigers’ head coach Art Walker had his game plan predetermined.

 

“I had my mind made up that we were going to play-action it and throw early to loosen them up,” Walker said. “Because I knew they’d load up the box and try to stop the run.”

 

The plan worked. Senior quarterback Mike Buchert, who entered the game with just 862 pass yards, opened the first half 6-of-6 for 137 yards and two touchdowns – passes of 3 yards to Purdue commit Rob Kugler and 18 yards to James Kleinhampl. Those scoring strikes helped North Allegheny build a 14-0 lead with 6:29 left in the first half.

 

In fact, the Tigers’ opening drive was set up by two beautiful play-action passes from Buchert to wideout Dan Slivka, spanning 45 and 33 yards. Slivka finished the game with three catches for 105 yards.

 

“We didn’t think they would pass the ball that much,” said Woodland Hills head coach George Novak. “They caught us a couple of times on bad coverages.”

 

The Woodland Hills’ defense, to put it mildly, wasn’t at its best in the first half. Not only were the Wolverines gouged for 229 yards of offense on just 27 NA plays, but the turquoise and black committed three enchroachment penalties and had six total flags against them in the first 24 minutes. Additionally, a 46-yard pass from Menifee to Shakim Alonzo to the NA 5 yard line resulted in a fumble on the very next play, thwarting a potential scoring opportunity.

 

Woodland Hills had only 25 rushing yards on 16 carries at halftime and 74 yards of total offense.

 

Alex Papson’s 43-yard touchdown run with 2:56 left in the opening half pushed the Tigers’ advantage to 21-0, and it appeared the rout was on. But stop the presses, because in the second half, Woodland Hills awakened, both offensively and defensively.

 

Menifee hit Alonzo for a 46-yard touchdown pass to break the Tigers’ shutout with 4:35 left in the third quarter, slicing the 21-point margin to just 14 after Sam Scifo’s extra point.

 

And North Allegheny was minus its featured tailback. Papson was having his shoulder examined on the sideline during the third quarter and he did not return to the game, finishing the night with 123 yards on 22 carries.

 

NA’s troubles continued to mount as a bad snap on a punt sailed over the head of sophomore backup Jack Henderson, losing 27 yards and giving WH life at the Tiger 24.

 

Woodland Hills wasted no time. Lafayette Pitts (18 rushes, 49 yards) darted 24 yards for a touchdown on the very next play, bringing the Wolverines to within a possession and the crowd on the visiting side of the stadium to life.

 

But that was as close as Woodland Hills would get.

 

“You want to play against a team when they’re at their best,” Novak said. “(It would have been nice) if the defense had played that way with him (Papson) out there.

 

“I’m proud of them (WH) for their effort. They hung in until the end and didn’t quit,” Novak added. “But we made our share of mistakes.”

 

Menifee finished with 112 passing yards on a 5-of-16 night and also ran for 14 yards on nine carries. Alonzo had the two receptions for 92 yards and fullback Alfonzo Strozier added 36 yards on four attempts. Woodland Hills finished with 206 yards of offense and two turnovers, along with nine penalties for 55 yards.

 

North Allegheny amassed 268 yards of offense and 15 first downs, split almost evenly rushing (131) as passing (137). Buchert finished 6-of-9 passing and ran 12 times for just 3 yards. Fullback Nick Passodelis added 15 yards on 3 carries and Vinnie Codengo had 8 yards on 5 carries in relief of Papson.

 

After hafltime, North Allegheny managed just 39 yards of offense and one solitary first down.

 

But it mattered little to Walker, who won his third WPIAL title as a head coach (and fourth if you count the title as West Allegheny’s offensive coordinator in 1997).

 

“It means a lot,” Walker said of winning the title. “From where we started six years ago to where we have come to…they (the kids) have trusted us and we’ve trusted them. The entire community was here tonight to support us. So yes, it means a lot.”

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PITTSBURGH – During the postgame press conference, Central Valley sophomore Robert Foster took a seat behind head coach Mark Lyons, somewhat hidden from view.

 

But on the Heinz Field surface, Foster was front and center for the Warriors, helping the Carolina blue and white to etch its program in history.

 

Central Valley (10-3) scored 24 unanswered points to become the WPIAL’s first merged football program since Sto-Rox in 1966 to win a championship, defeating Montour (12-1) 24-7 in the AAA title game. The Warriors used two big touchdowns from Foster to help key the effort, as well as a stout defensive performance that harrassed Spartan field general Dillon Buechel all game long.

 

“(When we started the season) the message was simply, ‘Whatever we do will be etched in stone,’” said Lyons. “I was on the lines for the first loss, the first victory, the first shutout. And I’m happy that we also have the first WPIAL championship.

 

“It’s a proud opportunity to bring back the WPIAL football championship to the Central Valley community,” Lyons continued.

 

Central Valley, which claims a Monaca address, is a first year program merged between the former Monaca and Center high schools. And Lyons formerly served as the head coach of the Monaca Indians, guiding the red and blue to WPIAL title game appearances in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

 

The fourth try was the charm.

 

And the Warriors super speedster of a sophomore, Foster, was, for lack of a better term, ubiquitous.

 

Foster carried the ball, completed a 17-yard pass on a faked punt, caught two passes and also played a role on special teams, returning kicks and punts. He made a trio of game-changing plays – a 54-yard run, a 35-yard punt return for touchdown and a 70-yard reception for a touchdown on a pass from junior Matt Bradford.

 

In all, Foster ran for 56 yards, threw for 17 and had 75 receiving yards. Of Central Valley’s 66 points scored the last two weeks, Foster has scored 36 of them.

 

On the punt return for a touchdown, which broke a 7-7 tie with 1:50 left in the first half, the soft-spoken Foster summed it up in one sentence.

 

“I just did what I had to do,” Foster said.

 

And that simple modus operandi – just doing what needed to be done – helped the Warriors reach the pinnacle of the WPIAL.

 

For the second time in four years, Montour was on the short end.

 

“We got the (first) score and then they went down and got that 54-yard run and stole the momentum,” said Spartan head coach Lou Cerro. “Then it snowballed a little bit.”

 

Junior feature back Julian Durden broke the goose eggs on the scoreboard with a 24-yard run just 44 seconds into the second quarter, and the black and yellow had a 7-0 lead. And after Foster hit the 54-yard run, Bradford was intercepted in the end zone by the Spartans’ Aaron Reed.

 

And that’s when things stopped going well for Montour. Bradford answered the Spartan touchdown with a 1-yard scoring run of his own with 3:29 left in the half. Foster’s punt return, fielded in stride on a single bounce, even further tilted the momentum to CV.

 

Foster’s second touchdown nailed Montour’s coffin shut.

 

On a play Lyons said the Warriors installed Thursday during practice, Bradford hit a streaking Foster down the far sideline for a 70-yard dagger of a touchdown that pushed CV’s lead to 21-7. Greg Nicastro capped the Warriors’ scoring with a 30-yard field goal.

 

The Warriors’ defense stifled Montour’s offense in the third quarter, limiting the Spartans to a paltry 32 yards in the period. Montour finished with 297 yards for the game and 18 first downs and Durden ran for 158 yards in the game, but Montour had three costly turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) and a turnover on downs after driving to the CV 14-yard line. Buechel (19-of-36, 147 yards, 2 INT) was sacked on 4th and 13 for a 10-yard loss.

 

Bradford finished 2-of-4 passing for 75 yards. Aaron Law ran for a team-high 75 yards on just three carries, and Tre Crumpton added 13 yards on seven carries for the Warriors.

 

Despite the result, Cerro said he wouldn’t change anything.

 

“They got the job done tonight and we didn’t,” Cerro said.

 

“The Parkway’s the best conference in the WPIAL…I don’t care what anybody says,” Cerro added.

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PITTSBURGH – History, they say, has a way of repeating itself.

 

In last year’s WPIAL AA title game, Aliquippa turned the ball over five times in a humbling 33-7 defeat to Greensburg Central Catholic.

 

Consider the Quips’ 2010 WPIAL finals appearance a case of deja vu.

 

South Fayette (13-0) recovered three Aliquippa (12-1) fumbles inside its own territory and senior field general Christian Brumbaugh fired two touchdown passes for a 19-6 victory in the WPIAL AA championship game from Heinz Field.

 

With the victory, the Lions will face the District 9 champion Brockway Rovers in a PIAA AA quarterfinal game next Friday, December 3rd, at West Allegheny High School.

 

Aliquippa head coach Mike Zmijanic, as is typical, made no excuses for the loss.

 

“Those (turnovers) are all part of the game,” Zmijanic said. “And sometimes, games turn on those. I would say today’s game turned on those.”

 

The three turnovers Aliquippa’s boss spoke of occured at the South Fayette 12, 17 and 15 yard lines. The initial fumble, recovered by senior LB Eric Myers at the SF 12, turned into the game’s first touchdown just five plays later, as Brumbaugh hooked up with Tyler Challingsworth on a 39-yard pass, catch and run for a 6-0 lead. The Lions covered the 88 yards in just 1:57, and also used a Jeff Davis 33-yard run to help set up the scoring play.

 

Aliquippa countered on its ensuing possession, as freshman Drayvon Henry crashed in from 3 yards out, capping a 3:37 drive.

 

“I thought we played very well defensively and we did well offensively, too,” Zmijanic said.

 

He was right. Aliquippa did amass 357 yards of offense – 224 rushing and 133 passing. The Quips moved up and down and up and down the Heinz Field turf, totaling 17 first downs.

 

“We’ve given up yards all year,” said South Fayette head coach Joe Rossi. “But we’ve found ways to get it done.”

 

And because it bent, but didn’t break, South Fayette took a 6-6 tie into intermission. The Lions broke that tie on the initial possession of the second half on a 5-yard scoring pass from Brumbaugh to Zach Challingsworth. Aliquippa would force Brumbaugh into an interception later in the period, but Tyler Challingsworth recovered a fumble at the Lions’ 17 yard line to thwart the threat.

 

South Fayette broke the Quips’ backs with a drive that began at the 8:26 mark of the fourth quarter. Using mostly power and pro formations, the Lions plowed their way 70 yards – all on the ground – to put the game out of reach. Trevor Fiorentini scored the title-clinching points with a 2-yard run with 2:25 left in the game.

 

“They’re a physical football team,” Brumbaugh said of Aliquippa, “but I think we came after them today.”

 

Senior lineman Nick Faraci agreed.

 

“We like to pound the ball up the middle,” Faraci said. “I think we did a good job up front. I think we have the best line in the WPIAL.”

 

“We showed we’re more than a passing team,” Brumbaugh said.

 

Rossi said South Fayette can execute the power running game.

 

“We’ve shown the ability to do that this season (like the playoff game with Ellwood City),” Rossi said. “We’ve pounded it when we need to.”

 

Brumbaugh finished with 147 passing yards, completing 12-of-23 passes, to give him 2,875 passing yards and 39 touchdowns this season. Davis ran for 85 yards on 18 carries and caught three passes for 25 yards. Tyler and Zach Challingsworth each caught three passes – Tyler finished with 54 yards receiving and Zach with 33.

 

Ben Cobb paced the Quips’ ground game with 107 yards on 18 carries. Henry added 55 yards on 11 totes and Darius Walker posted 47 yards on six carries. Junior field general Mikal Hall finished the game 9-of-16 for 133 yards. Leading receiver Haetaun Mathis caught four passes for 70 yards.

 

Winning the WPIAL title, Brumbaugh said, was great

 

“It feels great to accomplish this,” he said.

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PITTSBURGH – For the scoreboard watchers, seeing the Clairton Bears be kept below 20 points for the first time all season might seem a shock. But then again, consider the opponent – Rochester – a team that has always given Clairton fits.

Clairton head coach Tom Nola didn’t think the final score was atypical.

 

“It was a (rather) typical Clairton/Rochester game,” Nola said. “It was tough to get points (on the board) and there was a lot of good defense.”

 

Clairton (13-0) forced two Ram turnovers and allowed only 43 rushing yards, posting its ninth shutout of the season in a 12-0 shutout of Rochester (12-1) in the WPIAL Class A championship game from Heinz Field.

 

With the win, Clairton will take on District 5 champion North Star (9-3) next weekend in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal Friday, December 3rd at Somerset Area High School.

 

Rochester head coach Gene Matsook took a slightly defensive stance in postgame comments when asked how good Clairton’s defense is.

 

“Just as good as ours,” Matsook said. “Our defense played a fantastic game against a team that has more skill than the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

 

Clairton does have a lot of skill, from QB Desimon Green to RBs Tyler Boyd and Karvonn”Mud Puppy” Coles to WRs Trenton Coles and Josh Page. But defensively, Clairton may be most similar to the Steelers. They are like a Steel Curtain.

 

Rochester found that out early and often. Through three quarters, the Rams were held to 39 yards of total offense and completed only one pass (a 9-yard screen to Nick Tapia). For the game, Rochester ran 34 times for only 43 yards and completed just 2-of-10 passes for 21 yards.

 

And on a few of Rochester’s first pass plays of the game, quarterback Jasson Adamson was rolling out toward Green’s side of the field.

 

That move surprised Green very much.

 

“I was shocked,” Green said. “But I hadn’t been playing my best on defense, so I thought they’d try (to come to my side). But I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

 

Green didn’t let much of anything happen, defensively speaking. He finished the game with 10 tackles (2 for loss) and a sack. He also got things done offensively, too, having a hand in both Bear touchdowns while throwing for 82 yards and running for 48 more.

 

But aside from Green and “Mud Puppy” Coles’ 64 yards on six totes, Clairton had some offensive sputters. The Bears committed 10 penalties for 84 yards and had three turnovers – two interceptions and a lost fumble. Clairton also missed an opportunity with less than two minutes left in the first half to extend its lead to 12-0 on a failed 4th-down pass into the end zone, intended for Josh Page.

 

“We made a few more plays than they did, especially on defense,” Nola said.

 

The first of those plays was Green’s 26-yard touchdown run with 8:28 left in the first half. The second, a 21-yard Green touchdown pass with :37 left in the game to Trenton Coles to put the game on ice. The third – Clairton’s defense stopped Rams’ feature back Deandre Moon for a 12-yard loss on a 2nd down and 3 situation from the Clairton 18 yard line in the fourth quarter.

 

Rochester also missed a golden touchdown opportunity on a dropped screen pass in the third quarter. Had the Rams’ Devon Glass hauled in the Adamson pass, he had nothing but wide open spaces in front of him.

 

“We caught them on it,” Matsook said. “But it didn’t work out. We capitalize on a play there, it’s six.”

 

Rochester was paced by Glass’ 20 yards rushing on nine carries. Tapia added 20 yards on five carries and Moon finished with 9 yards on 8 carries. Rochester had 64 yards of offense and six first downs.

 

Clairton finished with 253 yards of offense (171 on the ground). Production spread between Boyd (31 rushing yards; 41 receiving yards), Brandon Small (20 rush yards), Page (20 receiving yards) in addition to the contributions of the Coles, Trenton and Karvonn, and Green.

 

Green, Small and Bishop Neal (1 INT on defense) all said they got up early in the morning for the game, which kicked off at 9:30 a.m.

 

“5:30 a.m.,” Neal said of his waking hour.

 

This day, however, the Rams were the ones sent to an early hibernation.

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PECKVILLE – In the first two meetings between District 2 “A” power Riverside Vikings and District 4 “A” power Southern Columbia Tigers, the Vikings were able to pull off hard-fought victories. In 1997 they were the only team in a 13-year stretch that could keep Southern out of the state title game, up-ending the Tigers 35-28 in the eastern final. In 2008 they over-powered a rebuilding Tiger squad by a score of 25-7. The 2010 version of the match-up was looking to shape up much differently with Southern seemingly on a roll and in true play-off form for the first time since ’06, but the Vikings had other ideas. Riverside won the battle up-front and ran all over Southern in a 36-0 lambasting.

 

To say that Riverside had Southern’s number would be an understatement. Coach Roth’s Tigers could find no answer for Vikings quarterback, Corey Talerico. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for a fifth. Skylar Lavage and Nick Dranchak each hauled in two touchdown passes. If Southern was stopping the pass, Talerico found another way to get the first-down. Other times, stud running back, Nick Rossi was pounding his way down-field on one of his 20 carries for 108 total yards.

 

Southern just never was able to gain any momentum, and seemed to have left their football on the bus or possibly back at Tiger Stadium where they were able to win their 19th district crown. Wherever it was it couldn’t help the Tigers as they watched their season come to an abrupt end along with the football careers of many fine senior athletes. For their part, Riverside was able to capitalize on every Southern mistake, and just plain out-play them in every aspect of the game.

 

Southern Columbia (10-3) ends the season with a District 4 Class A title. They seemed to bring the program one step closer to its former state championship form, but there is no room for any let-up this time of year, and that lesson was learned the hard way for this year’s squad. Congratulations Tigers on another fine season.

 

Riverside improves to 12-1 for the year and sets its sights on the Hurricanes(11-2) of Schuylkill Haven after their 42-28 victory over Calvary Christian Academy. Best wishes to coach Armstrong’s Vikings from here on as they seek their first state championship.

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Langhorne, Pa., The Neshaminy Redskins used a ground and pound offense controlling the line of scrimmage and the running of Tailback Anthony Woodroffe enabled the Skins to dominate in a 33-7 victory over the Bayard Rustin Golden Knights in last night’s District 1, AAAA semifinal at Neshaminy’s Harry Franks stadium.

 

Both teams came into the contest with 11-1 records and from the outset Neshaminy coach Mark Schmidt’s plan was to rotate his three headed monster running attack of Woodroffe, Corey Majors and Sean Ulmer and it worked to perfection all night long. On the Skins second possession they used a 12 play, 50 yard, seven minute drive (Woodroffe accounted for 45 of those yards) ending with Majors one yard touchdown run. After a Rustin three and out Neshaminy only needed eight plays with Majors scoring again this time from the two yard line and a 14-0 lead they took into the locker room at halftime.

 

Neshaminy took the second half kickoff and again generated another time consuming six minute drive going 74 yards and culminating with a Quarterback Charlie Marterella 14 yard touchdown pass to Dwight Williams.  On the Skins next possession Marterella went to the air again connecting on a 60 yard toss to Ulmer setting up another Majors 2 yard TD and a 27-0 lead. They put an exclamation point on the victory with Woodroffe’s 55 yard touchdown run.

 

“Our defensive game plan was to try to eliminate the big play strike offense Rustin has used a lot this year, especially with their number 18 (Rustin WR star Anthony Nash)” quipped Schmidt. I was very proud of the way the defense adjusted to him and their entire offensive attack” Rustin has averaged over 300 yards and 33 points per game but the Skins held their big play offense to only 210 yards in this one.

 

It was also a heartwarming playoff for the Skins faithful. The entire program has dedicated the season to the recovery of a lymphoma condition that Senior RB Marco Dapkey has had to endure. Dapkey was all over the Skin sideline coaching up the defense and looked like he could put the pads on and play. Schmidt, in a solemn moment was very realistic about this year’s team. “I wasn’t sure how the guys would respond this year especially with what Marco has had to overcome. His passion out there absolutely energized this entire team game in and game out”

 

Neshaminy now heads toward a showdown with North Penn (a 28-14 winner over CR South) and the District 1 crown. Knowing Dapkey he’ll no doubt be the 12th man on the field in that one.

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SCRANTON –This game was a rematch from last year.  Allentown Central Catholic (13-0) won a close one last season 28-14 at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium. The Vikings put together a flurry of punches and knocked out Abington Heights early.

 

Quarterback Brendan Nosovitch and Kevin Gulyas connected for four touchdowns in the first half and their defense forced four turnovers. The Vikings built a 40-0 lead at halftime and went on cruise control in the second half in a 54-14 win over Abington Heights (12-1) at Scranton Memorial Stadium Friday night.

 

The Vikings had 311 yards of total offense in the first half.

 

Harold Fairclough talked about his first half, “We wanted to try and establish a running game and last year they took that away from us. This year we thought we could move the ball on the run and mix that in with the passing game.”

 

Abington Heights got the ball first, drove down and attempted a field goal that was no good. But a penalty by the Vikings moved them closer to a first down. The Comets fourth down pass fell incomplete and the Vikings took over on downs.

 

The Vikings took their opening drive and marched right down the field. The six-play drive ended on a Nosovitch to Gulyas 26-yard touchdown pass. The Vikings led 7-0.

 

After another three-and-out by the Comets the Vikings scored again. On fourth down and 29 Nosovitch found Gulyas for the touchdown pass. The Vikings built a 14-0 lead with 4:50 left in the first quarter.

 

The Comets offense couldn’t get going and things got even worse. Quarterback Dante Pasqualichio’s pass was intercepted by Jalen Sndyer-Scipio who took it deep into Abington Heights territory.

 

This would start a big second quarter by the Vikings. Nosovitch threw touchdown passes of 8, 30 and 4 in the quarter.

 

Kevin Gulyas talked about Nosovitch, “He really makes good decisions. Easy as a receiver to get open and he finds open guys. That’s what he did the first half.”

 

Nosovitch and Gulyas would get the hat trick. The eight-yard touchdown pass was the third of the first half. The dynamic duo connected for a fourth time. This time it went 30-yards for the score.

 

Fairclough talked about the dynamic duo, “It’s a great combination. They have been playing together a few years now. When they are hot they are hot.”

 

Colin McDermott added a two-yard run and Nosovitch finished the first half scoring with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jack Sandherr.

 

Turnovers and three and outs hurt the Comets in the first half. The Vikings went into halftime leading 40-0.

 

Last week, Nosovitch set a single-game record for the Vikings passing five touchdowns against Southern Lehigh. This week he did it in one half. He completed 15-of-22 for 186 yards before sitting out the entire second half.

 

The Vikings defense in the first half held the Comets to 52 yards rushing and 93 total yards of offense.

 

Fairclough talked about his defense, “Greg Moore put together a great game plan and the kids came out and executed. We wanted to come out and be physical.”

 

The Vikings offense started where they left off in the first half. Gulyas started the opening drive by taking the kickoff 87-yards for the touchdown. They led 47-0.

 

Gulyas finished the night with seven catches for 101 yards and four touchdowns.

 

The Vikings played their backups most of the second half. The Comets James Fruehan’s 35-yard touchdown run put the Comets on the board.

 

The Vikings Kevin McDermott one-yard touchdown run with 3:15 remaining added to their lead.

 

Corey Degilio’s 51-yard run for the Comets finished the scoring.

 

The Vikings move on next week and will face unbeaten District 9 champion Clearfield next week in a Class 3A state quarterfinals at a date and time to be determined.

 

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EASTON – Justin Pacchioli threw for one touchdown and ran for a two-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to lead the Red Rovers come back win over Whitehall 13-10 at Cottingham Stadium Saturday night.

 

After a tough loss two days ago to Phillipsburg NJ on Thanksgiving Day, Easton Area (12-2) bounced backed to win back-to-back District 11 4A titles and earn a shot next week at the defending state champs LaSalle College High School.

 

Pacchioli talked about winning another title, “It’s an amazing feeling. Especially coming out as a senior winning your last one at Cottingham and showing the younger guys what it is all about and it feels good and it erases the Phillipsburg lost.”

 

The Red Rovers drove 54 yards on seven plays to take an early lead in the second quarter. Pacchioli threw a perfect pass to Jonathan Bisci for a seven-yard touchdown. Bisci caught the ball in the back of the end zone and managed to get one foot in for an amazing catch. The kick failed and the Red Rovers led 6-0.

 

The Zephyrs answered their scoring drive with one of their own. Josh Cirocco’s     32-yard field goal with 5:19 remaining in the first half cut the Red Rovers lead in half 6-3.

 

The Red Rovers were on the move again late in the third quarter. The Zephyrs defense came up with a big sack and two plays later Michael Williams intercepted the pass and took it deep inside Red Rover territory.

 

With 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Eric Fiore plowed his way in for the three-yard touchdown run. The Zephyrs led 10-6.

 

Early in the fourth quarter, Whitehall Quarterback Chris Polony injured his leg keeping him out of the rest of the game. Nicholas Shafnisky came into the game.

 

The biggest momentum change in the game happened next. Shafnisky avoided the sack and found Tyler Artim who broke free for the 41-yard completion. He was off to the races, but Pacchioli trailed behind him and caught up to him. He ripped the football out and Ian Hayden fell on it to give Easton the ball with 10:17 remaining in the game. The Red Rovers took over on their 26.

 

Pacchioli talked about the turnover, “We got that huge turnover at the end and we kinda said this is it and if we were going to go we have to go now. We put are heads together and drove right down the field and scored.”

 

Pacchioli converted big third downs and a fourth down play during the drive and had big runs. The Red Rovers drove 74 yards on 12-plays as Pacchioli called his own play and went straight up the middle for the two-yard score. The Red Rovers comeback put them up 13-10 with 4:24 left in the game.

 

Quarterback Justin Pacchioli talked about the game winning drive, “It was a drive we put together and we were talking about it the whole second half. All it was going to take is one drive and drive us down the field and win the football game for us.”

 

Pacchioli finished the game passing for 82 yards and he rushed for 83 yards.

 

The Zephyrs offense wasn’t in sync after that.  They had bad snap after bad snap that hurt them late in the game. Their last two drives ended with a punt and they turned it over on downs.

 

The Red Rovers defense held Chris Polony to 33 yards passing and Eric Fiore to 56-yard rushing and one score. They out rushed Whitehall 207 to 68 yards.

 

David Caldwell Jr. talked about Easton’s defense, “Our defense carried us in the game today. We played good all season and we don’t get down on each other. We come together when we need to.”

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