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Bethlehem, Pa., Allentown Central Catholic Junior Quarterback Brendan Nosovitch was a human highlight reel for the Vikings in their AAA eastern final 49-27 conquest over District 12 power Archbishop Wood last night at Frank Banko field.


Nosovitch was the complete package and was too much offensively for Wood from the outset. Pinned on their own five yard line on their first series Nosovitch (out of the shotgun) ran up the middle for 25 yards on their first play while they had four receivers flanked to the left. On the very next play Nosovitch hit star junior receiver Kevin Gulyas in stride for a 70 yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.


Later in the first quarter Allentown Central stud defensive lineman Shane McNeely was carried off the field with a leg injury and Wood immediately took advantage when junior running back Brandon Peoples ran for a 48 yard touchdown. Wood then scored again on their next possession after partially blocking an ACC punt and from Central’s 30 yard line they only needed three plays and junior quarterback Joey Monaghan hit junior TE Colin Thompson for an eight yard touchdown and a Wood 14-7 lead.


Not to be outdone by Wood’s quick success Nosovitch and company came right back in six plays ending with a beautiful pass down the right sideline to junior Jalen Snyder-Scipio and a 54 yard touchdown. Wood, trying to avoid a momentum shift then immediately went on a five minute, 11 play, 80 yard drive that ended with a Monaghan 10 yard touchdown run and a Wood 21-14 lead.


Right before the half Central tied the game seven plays later at 21 with a seven play drive (Nosovitch had a run of 38) and ended when the QB hit Scipio with a seven yard touchdown pass.


The momentum became a one team show in the second half both offensively and defensively for Central. The defensive charge led by Jarred Pitts, Noah Robb, Jack Sandherr, Colin McDermott and Connor O’Donnell began to bear down on the Wood running game and they kept Peoples in check after he ran for 150 yards in the first half. Offensively on their second drive Nosivitch then led Central on a seven play drive ending when he pounded the ball in from the one and a 28-21 lead.


The floodgates then opened when the Gatorade player of the year threw two more 64 yard touchdown passes (his third to Scipio and to Noah Robb).


Nosovitch ended his day with just under 200 yards rushing and over 400 yards passing. It was one of the greatest one man performances seen in these parts for some time and the type of game that can give defensive coaches nightmares.


The Vikings (15-0) now will represent the east in their state final against western representative Bishop McDevitt after their win over Erie Cathedral Prep. Archbishop Wood finishes their season 13-1 and dearly missed their star running back Desmon Peoples (Brandon’s cousin) who has been out since their PCL final win over Cardinal O’Hara a month ago. Wood also lost defensive star Sam McCain (injured ankle) in the first half.

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HERSHEY – West Catholic (12-2) scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter including a Brandon Hollomon 65-yard touchdown run to ice the game. The Burrs overcame six penalties in the first half in a 21-7 win over Lewisburg (14-1) Saturday afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium.


West Catholic head coach Brian Fluck talked about Hollomon’s touchdown run, “He’s a big time player. He always steps up for us. That play they were pitching everyone inside and we felt we could get to the corner. We thought if he got to the corner he could break one and he did.”


Two years ago West Catholic lost to Wilmington Area 35-34 in the state finals. With their win today they can erase that memory. Fluck talked about the loss in 08,  “I told the kids before the game I remember that game and have thought about that game for two years every day. Now we have a chance to get that back.”


David Williams scored the only touchdown in the first half. He went in for a two-yard score with 6:26 remaining in the first quarter. The Burrs led 7-0.


Hollomon talked about the first half, “We wanted to come in today and try and play mistake free. Our coach said to us at halftime to cut down the penalties and finish off the drives.”


West Catholic had 65 penalty yards in the first half and they held Lewisburg to 23 offensive yards.


Lewisburg’s defense held West Catholic’s high power offense through three quarters. Head Coach Todd Tilford said, “Our defense gave us chances and our chances couldn’t get going. They have so much speed coming off the end.”


Lewisburg hung around going into the fourth quarter until West Catholic put together an 11-play, 84-yard drive.  Williams had runs of 11 and 29 yards and Jaleel Reed scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give his team a 14-0 lead with 8:53 remaining in the game.


The Green Dragons managed one first down and punted the ball right back to West Catholic. But they finally got the break they needed. The Burrs center snapped the ball right over Reed’s head and Merle Moscarello scooped up the ball and went in for the score cutting West Catholic’s lead in half with 4:53 left in the game.


If the Green Dragons had momentum it lasted only one drive. The Burrs were faced with a third down and ten on their 35 when Hollomon took the pitch and went down the sidelines for a 65-yard score with 3:51 remaining in the game. The extra point made it 21-7 Burrs.


Hollomon talked about the drive, “It was a toss play and I was thinking first down and wanted to run out the clock. I got a good block by Jaelen Strong-Rankin and just turned on the jets.”


With one last drive Lewisburg’s quarterback Camden Cassels 4th down pass sailed out of bounds and the Burrs took over on downs at the Green Dragons 29.


The Burrs Joshua Mathis converted a big fourth down play and they ran out the clock to preserve the win.


West Catholic will face South Fayette at 12:00 pm next Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium. They won 49-12 over Forest Hills.


Hollomon said, “This means a lot to us. But we have unfinished business and we still have one more to go to redeem ourselves. We did this for the 08 team and everyone who supports us.”


Lewisburg’s Nate Brown finished the day rushing for 28 yards.


Head Coach Tilford talked about his team, “They played their hearts out as always. Can’t expect anything less than that and I can’t say anything less than that.”

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Plymouth Meeting, Pa., Joe Nagi’s tip of a Corey Ernst screen pass and Ryan Geiger’s interception with under two minutes remaining on the LaSalle Explorers 43 yard line, stunted a potential game winning drive by District 1champ North Penn giving the District 12 champs a thrilling victory, the AAAA eastern championship and a date next week in Hershey vs. North Allegheny for the state title.


This game featured seven lead changes and offensive explosions, both passing and running by some great skill players that made this game, one for the ages.


The Knights took eight plays in their first possession and scored on a Dominic Taggart one yard touchdown run. The North Penn offensive line appeared to have some control up front. LaSalle answered immediately with their own seven play drive including two Explorer quarterback Matt Magarity completions for 62 yards and was culminated with a Jamal Abdur-Rahman two yard TD burst and a tie at seven. Two plays later Ernst hit TE Ralph Reeves for a 55 yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead for North Penn.


As the second quarter started the defending state champs then went on a long, extended drive eclipsing almost five minutes and some nifty running and passing by Magarity (4-6, 42 yards in the drive) and ending with a Magarity to Tim Wade two yard touchdown pass and a tie at 14. North Penn’s Brandon Mercer then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and LaSalle recovered at the Knight 24. The Explorers could only get to the seven yard line and had to settle for a Ryan Winslow 24 yard field goal and a LaSalle 17-14 lead.


The Knights then buckled down and executed a 10 play, 82 yard drive with Taggart doing the majority of the running and he took it in again from the one and now a Knight 21-17 lead that they took into the locker room at halftime.


LaSalle came into the game dominating in about every second half of games they have played, but North Penn has had their success in this area as well. LaSalle retook the lead in only two plays and Rahman scored from the two. North Penn immediately answered yet again on their next drive. They pounded Taggart behind their huge line, anchored by center T.J. Smink. Six runs from Taggart mixed in with a Ernst to Reeves 37 yard completion got the ball down to the seven yard line. Taggart then scored his third TD of the afternoon on the next play and another lead change.


Down 35-31 with just over four minutes to play, LaSalle did what they have done all season in tight games; go with the big gun, Rahman. The Villanova recruit compiled 33 yards in their final possession. Then Magarity hit sophomore standout receiver Sean Coleman with a great pitch and catch and a 25 yard touchdown putting the Explorers up 38-35.


In the Knights final possession they executed a critical fourth down conversion on a30 yard pass completion from Ernst to a wide open Gerard Wendowski. With a little over a minute remaining and the ball on the LaSalle 43, Nagi and Geiger performed their magic on North Penn’s next play.


LaSalle coach Drew Gordon was awed by the Knights effort.”Was this a great game or what? This is what championship high school football should be all about. This team took us out of our game constantly. I am so proud of our guys for finding a way to win this game” Gordon was equally impressed with Magarity who finished the day 10 of 19 passing for 182 yards. “We haven’t given Matt a lot of chances to throw this year and he really came through today when we needed it. He handled the pressure well”


Rahman ran for 140 yards on 21 carries, three touchdowns and played an outstanding game in the defensive backfield as well as kick and punt returns. Coleman, who excels as a star lacrosse player made some big time grabs in traffic. For North Penn, (with feature back Ted Needhammer playing very little due to an ankle issue), Taggart carried the load scoring four touchdowns and running for 140 yards.

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CHICAGO (December 2, 2010) — In its third decade of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Brendan Nosovitch of Allentown Central Catholic High School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year.  Nosovitch is the first Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year to be chosen from Allentown Central Catholic High School.


The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Nosovitch as Pennsylvania’s best high school football player.  Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December, Nosovitch joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Wes Welker (1999-00, Heritage Hall HS, Okla.), Terrell Suggs (1999-00, Hamilton HS, Ariz.), Anquan Boldin (1998-99, Pahokee HS, Fla.) and Jerome Bettis (1989-90, Mackenzie HS, Mich.).


The 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior quarterback led the Vikings to a 13-0 record entering in the Class AAA state quarterfinals against Clearfield High, scheduled for Dec. 3. At the time of his selection, Nosovitch had completed 148-of-252 attempts for 2,307 yards and 35 touchdowns. A returning Class AAA Second Team All-State selection as named by The Associated Press, he had also rushed for 1,283 yards and 18 touchdowns on 201 carries. As a sophomore in 2009, Nosovitch threw for 2,085 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 1,007 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is the first quarterback in state history to eclipse 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons.


Nosovitch has maintained a 3.23 GPA in the classroom. A member of his school’s student council, he has volunteered on behalf of the Best Friends Forever special needs mentoring program in addition to donating his time as a youth football and basketball instructor.


“He’s a dual-threat quarterback, so he’s real dangerous when he improvises,” said Tony Trisciani, head coach of rival Whitehall High. “When he gets out of the pocket, he makes things happen. He runs like a running back; he doesn’t run like a quarterback. He’s a talented quarterback as well. He’s got a strong arm. He’s got a lot of weapons, and he’s able to make the decisions that are necessary in their style of offense. He’s got a lot of command when he’s out there.”


Nosovitch will begin his senior year of high school next fall.


The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPN RISE and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.


Nosovitch joins recent Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Players of the Year Kyle Smith (2009-10, Lancaster Catholic), Zach Barket (2008-09, Schuylkill Haven Area) and Brendan Beal (2007-08, Liberty) among the state’s list of former award winners.


To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners, and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit

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ALTOONA, Pa. – From Mansion Park Stadium’s pressbox, one can hear the whistles from passing freight trains on the Main Line, one of the busiest freight rail lines in Pennsylvania.


The Holy Name defense ran into a freight train of a different sort – the Bishop Carroll ground game. And it was a freight train without brakes.


Bishop Carroll (11-2) pounded and pounded and pounded the Holy Name (11-2) defense for 392 rushing yards and put the game away with a 6:36 scoring drive in the fourth quarter for a 34-21 victory in a PIAA Class A Eastern Quarterfinal game from frigid Mansion Park Stadium.


With the victory, the Huskies advance to their fifth PIAA Class A semifinal in school history (first Eastern semifinal appearance) opposite District 2 champion Riverside, a 41-0 victor over District 11 champion Schuylkill Haven. Riverside last played in a PIAA semifinal in 1997.


If Bishop Carroll was a freight train this night, then Husky senior tailback Ryan Woo was the fuel. Entering the contest with 1,775 rushing yards, Woo was already having a very solid season for the blue and white. And his performance against the Blue Jays only piled onto that succesful season.


Woo finished with 244 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns on runs of 44 and 47 yards. The 44-yard run in the second quarter broke a 7-7 tie and the 47-yarder pushed the Huskies’ lead to 26-14 as time expired in the third quarter. Woo now has 2,019 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns this year.


Credit for Woo’s effort, though, started up front with linemen Tyler Strong, Andrew Stiles, Matt Dillon, Nicholas Maruca and Vinnie Tranquillo. Tranquillo, the lone senior, is the biggest of the bunch at 225 pounds. But the quintet opened up hole after hole after hole, not only for Woo, but also for David Kephart, Josh Chumrik and Josh Barzdo all game long.


“They did a super job,” Bishop Carroll coach Craig Sponsky said of his offensive line. “They executed the scheme we wanted to do tonight. They make a lot of room for us.”


That space created was evidenced by Carroll’s ground attack, which broke 11 running plays of 10 yards or more. The Huskies only had to attempt three passes this night, and they completed two for 18 yards.


“They were very physical up front,” Holy Name head coach Rick Keeley said of the Huskies. “My hat’s off to their offensive and defensive lines. We were able to execute our offense at times, but sometimes their defense was just better. And for that, you have to give them credit.”


Holy Name, though, came out like gangbusters to open the contest. Senior feature back Freddy Caruso broke a 70-yard run to the Carroll 1 yard line on the Blue Jays’ first play from scrimmage, then crashed into the end zone on the very next play. Just 32 seconds into the game, Holy Name led, 7-0.


Defensively, too, Holy Name appeared to be up to the task. In Carroll’s first 11 plays, the Huskies only ran for 33 yards. Holy Name helped the Huskies by committing three offsides penalties and a five-yard facemask foul, but Carroll’s first two possessions ended with a punt and a lost fumble, recovered by Caruso.


But that all changed in the second quarter. Carroll marched 40 yards on six plays, capped by a Kephart 2-yard scoring run to knot the scoreboard at 7s with 8:57 left in the half. Woo’s big run pushed the Huskies into the lead 4:47 of game clock later, and Carroll never trailed again.


A Barzdo 10-yard scoring run with 7:56 left in the third quarter capped a string of 20 unanswered points for the Huskies, pushing the lead to 20-7. But Holy Name struck back when Brian Eliff (11-of-15, 81 yards, TD) hooked up with Pietro Gaspari for a 15-yard scoring pass, slicing the Huskies’ lead to just 20-14.


After Woo’s 47-yard scoring run, Caruso capped Holy Name’s scoring with a 41-yard run down the home sideline. That score, with 10:40 left in the game, moved the Jays to within five points, at 26-21. But they got no closer.


The Huskies answered the Holy Name touchdown with an impressive 12-play, 70-yard, 6:36 march, capped by Barzdo’s second scoring run of the night – a 1-yard plunge with 3:54 left in the game.


Holy Name had two more possessions, but turned the ball over on downs each time. Two Husky knees ended the game.


Caruso finished with 179 yards rushing on 15 carries. Fullback Jeremy Figura added 50 yards on 10 carries. Holy Name finished with 289 yards of offense (208 rushing) and 14 first downs.


Bishop Carroll, beyond Woo’s effort on the ground, was also paced by Chumrik (9 rushes, 71 yards), Barzdo (13 rushes, 36 yards, 2 TD) and Kephart (9 rushes, 38 yards). As a team, the Huskies posted 392 rushing yards on 59 carries and amassed 23 first downs.


Even in defeat, Keeley said the only thing he would change were the final numbers on the scoreboard.


“I wouldn’t change anything about this season,” Keeley said. “These young men gave everything they had, and that’s all you can ask of your team. They brought a lot of pride to the Holy Name football program.”

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When Running Back Desmond Peoples was injured for Archbishop Wood, another Peoples had to step in at the position.


Enter Cousin Brandon Peoples.


After 130 yard effort two weeks ago against Dobbins Tech in the District 12 Championship Game, Peoples torched Strath Haven for 222 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns in a 24-14 victory over the Panthers in the PIAA AAA Eastern Semi-Final at Coatesville’s Multi-Purpose Stadium Friday Night.


Peoples opened the scoring with 7:25 to play in the first quarter as he scored on a one yard run that capped a 59 yard 10 play drive. Peoples had a run of 33 yards in the drive and Wood converted both a third down and a fourth down play in the drive. Nick Visco added the extra point as Wood took a 7-0 lead. Visco would add a 26 yard field goal with 23 seconds to play in the first quarter as Wood took a 10-0 lead.


Strath Haven’s Brent Collins then returned the kickoff 65 yards to the Viking 23 yard line. Thurman Fortune (21 carries 93 yards) needed just two plays from there as he scampered 21 yards on the first play of the second quarter to cut the Viking lead to 10-7.


Wood then increased the lead 17-7 when quarterback Joe Monaghan sneaked in from the one yard line on Wood’s next possession.


The second story of the night was the Wood defense.


Wood held the vaunted Strath Haven Wing-T running attack to 138 yards rushing and 253 total yards for the game. Every time Thurman tried to get going, there was always a Wood defender there to greet him.


On their first possession of the third quarter, Wood seemed poised to score another touchdown and put the game away. But the Panthers showed a little defense of their own and stopped Peoples on third down and was stopped on fourth down from inside the one yard line as he was met head on by Chaz Fisher.


Strath Haven, the Central League and District One champions took the ball on the half-yard line and drove it 99 yards as Collins went in from the five with 6:15 left in the third quarter. The big play in the drive was an 87 yard shovel pass from James Griffin to Alex Hisey that set the Panthers up first and goal on the Viking five yard line. Collins then needed just one play to once again cut the lead to three points, this time 17-14. Hisey kicked both extra points and also had a nice one-handed interception for the Panthers, who finish their season at 12-2.


Win the win Wood, who remained undefeated at 13-0 now faces District 11 Champion 14-0  Allentown Central Catholic, a 55-20 winner over District Nine champion Clearfield  next week in a “Battle of the Vikings” for a berth in the PIAA Class AAA Football Championship game on the 17th of December.

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NEWTOWN – North Penn’s (13-1) big first half led to a 42-6 win over Neshaminy (12-2) Friday night in the PIAA Class AAAA District One championship game at Council Rock North.


On Neshaminy’s first drive, they were faced with a fourth-and-one from North Penn’s 46-yard line. The Redskins went for it and the Knights defense came up with a big stop. The next play Craig Needhammer went 54-yards for the score and the Knights never looked back.


The Knights made it 14-0 when Corey Ernst hit Ralph Reeves for a 12-yard touchdown pass. They added one more score right before the first half ended. Dominic Taggart’s one-yard score put them up 21-0.


The Knights got three more rushing touchdowns in the second half. Brandon Mercer scored on runs of 49 and 5. James Fielder added a one-yard run.


With the backups in for North Penn, Neshaminy’s Cole Creighton got their only score in the fourth quarter on a three-yard touchdown run.


With the win North Penn waits for the winner of the Easton Area vs. LaSalle game.

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Riverside has outscored their playoff opponents by an average of 33.3 to 3.5 after their, 41-0, victory over Schuylkill Haven tonight. The District II champs outgained the ‘Canes, 448-130, in total yards. Harry Armstrong’s Viking group (13-1) now advances to the Eastern Finals to battle Bishop Carroll after their, 34-21, win over Holy Name.


Riverside’s quarterback Corey Talerico continued to impress as he ran for 176 yards on 7 carries and threw for another 162 stripes while contributing four total touchdowns (3 rushing/1 passing). Talerico even caused a fumble late in the first quarter as he forced Schuylkill Haven’s wideout Matt Naftzinger to lose control of the ball as LaQuan Jackson picked up the pigskin and rumbled all the way down to the goal line setting up the Vikings second score. Future Akron Zip Nick Rossi plunged in from a yard out to make the score, 14-0, Riverside.


Talerico completed a 70-yard dart to Skyler Lavage to increase the Viking lead to 28-0 at the half. In the second half, Riverside scored twice more on long gainers. First, a Rossi 50-yard scamper and then Talerico raced 75-yards to close out the scoring and a Riverside win, 41-0.


With Riverside looking forward to their game against the Huskies next week in the Final Four, on the other half of the state, the defending champ Clairton (14-0) faces Farrell (13-1) in the Western Finals. Clairton has won twenty-nine consecutive games. The Bears eliminated Farrell the past two seasons in the state tournament. The Steelers are led by senior standout Kevin Brodie (who has scored 30 touchdowns) and Syracuse’s recuit Robert Trudo, a massive lineman.

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HERSHEY, Pa. – To fully appreciate the feeling of winning a championship, you have to go through some seasons in the doldrums.


That was Cumberland Valley head coach Tim Rimpfel’s feeling after his Eagles claimed their 10th District 3 AAAA football championship and 12th District crown overall.


The 35-7 mercy-rule victory Saturday night in HersheyPark Stadium gave Cumberland Valley (12-2) its third consecutive 12-win season and moved the Eagles into the PIAA AAAA Western Finals for the second consecutive year. CV will face North Allegheny (13-1), who defeated State College 21-6 Friday night in a AAAA western quarterfinal game at Pine-Richland High School.


For Red Lion (10-4), it was the second loss to the Eagles this season. Those two defeats came by a margin of 80-13.


“We didn’t come in here just to be here,” said Red Lion head coach Patrick Conrad. “We came here to win a football game. But we didn’t block and tackle well in the first half.”


Those lapses, coupled with CV’s focus and determination, quickly turned the game into a rout.


Within its first 12 offensive plays, the Eagles had amassed 118 yards of offense, seven first downs and a 14-0 lead. Jeremy DiPietro broke the goose eggs just 1:13 into the game with a 35-yard run, set up by two first down runs by Jeremy Salmon and Dan Flynn, respectively. CV’s initial drive ate up 63 yards on just four plays.


CV’s second possession was met with slightly more resistance, but the end result was still the same, as Rutgers’ commit Kevin Snyder scored from 15 yards out.


One of the few Red Lion highlights came on CV’s next possession. After the Eagles drove from their own 25 to inside the Red Lion 10, the Lions’ Jeremy Knaub recovered a Snyder fumble at the black and gold’s three yard line. But five plays later, after Red Lion had chalked up its first first down of the game, CV got the ball back via a fumble recovery.


And the Eagles wasted no time. Senior field general Eric Sawyer hooked up with Flynn on a 20-yard touchdown pass on the very next play, and CV was up three scores on its York-Adams League counterparts.


“It’s what we call slobberknocker football,” Rimpfel said. Of its 30 offensive plays in the first half, Cumberland Valley ran the ball 28 times. Five different Eagles registered carries in the 220-yard, 13-first down onslaught.


Red Lion began mounting its best drive of the first half with 3:45 left in the second from its own 13. Junior quarterback Tanner Klinefelter hit four passes on the drive of 22, 9, 10 and 9 yards, and the Lions strung together four first downs to get to the Cumberland Valley 16 with less than 30 seconds left. But Red Lion coughed up its chance.


DiPietro scooped up a Klinefelter fumble, which was forced by Flynn, and raced 84 yards down the home sideline for a 28-0 CV lead.


Flynn invoked the mercy rule with a 3-yard scoring run with 1:40 left in the third quarter and Red Lion broke its shutout when Knaub scored from a yard out with 4:42 left in the game. Knaub’s score capped an 80-yard march for the Lions over seven plays.


DiPietro finished with 96 yards rushing on 11 carries, with Flynn adding 53 yards on 11 totees and Snyder chipping in with 46 yards on nine carries. Sawyer completed 4-of-6 passes for 51 yards. CV finished with 240 yards of offense and 17 first downs.


Red Lion was paced by Klinefelter’s passing effort (16-of-21, 181 yards) and the rushing efforts of Mike Gray (11 rush, 32 yards) and Knaub (8 rush, 19 yards). Red Lion finished with 204 yards of offense and had only 23 rushing yards on 28 carries (sacks included). The Lions had 11 first downs.


Conrad said the 10-win season is something positive to build off of.


“It’s a good foundation for our program,” he said.

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Philadelphia, Pa., In a battle of two of the best defensive teams in the state the LaSalle Explorers outlasted the Easton Red Rovers 19-7 in a AAAA state quarterfinal game yesterday at Northeast High’s Charles Martin stadium.


LaSalle got on the board first on their first possession driving down to the Rover 15 before settling for a Ryan Winslow 32 yard Field goal and a 3-0 lead.


In the second quarter Easton generated a 15 play eight minute drive that ended with  Senior Quarterback Justin Pacchioli’s eight yard touchdown pass to Tyler Holjis to give Easton the lead. In the drive Pacchioli connected on four passes plus two runs for 14 yards. His scrambling ability (especially on the touchdown) gave the Explorers fits in the early going. Easton’s stingy defense caused a LaSalle three and out on their last offensive possession of the half and an Easton 7-3 lead.


LaSalle finally got things going on their first second half possession with a nine play drive that culminated with a Junior Quarterback Matt Magarity’s one yard touchdown plunge and a lead they would not relinquish. On the drive, Villanova bound Jamal Abdur-Rahman totaled 54 of the yards receiving and running. It also appeared that the Explorer offensive line was finally getting on track with their drive blocking.


In the fourth quarter another Winslow field goal (this one from 32) gave LaSalle a 13-7 lead. With the ball on their 34 yard line with 2:23 remaining a Pacchioli pass was intercepted by Rahman who brought it back for a 37 yard touchdown and the final nail in the coffin.


For as great as LaSalle’s victory was, nothing can be taken away from the effort that Easton gave on this day. “We knew Easton had one of the best defenses around” said LaSalle coach Drew Gordon. “They took us out of our game in the first half. You’re not going to win many games when you run 17 offensive plays in a half.”  Gordon was equally impressed with Pacchioli. “Our guys were right there to get him while he was in the pocket but he kept eluding our pressure. The touchdown pass he threw (to Holjis) while under pressure was huge”.


Asked what he told his team in the locker room while behind at halftime Gordon quipped “they needed to pick up the intensity, plain and simple. We were not wrapping up on our tackling and they were taking us out of our game”.  As for Rahman, “he makes big plays at big times. He’s done that for us all year”.


LaSalle (the District 12 champ) improves to 12-1 and has a date looming next week with District 1 champ North Penn and for the right to play in the state championship the following week at Hershey.  Easton (the District 11 champion) finished their season at 13-3.

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HERSHEY, Pa. – The formula for success on the gridiron in Pennsylvania’s cold December weather is rather simple.

First, hit a couple big, momentum-turning plays. Second, play some solid defense. Third, and most importantly, limit the mistakes.

Lewisburg followed that formula to a tee.


The Green Dragons (14-0) scored the first 28 points of the game and forced four Shamrock (12-2) turnovers in a 31-21 victory in a PIAA AA quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at HersheyPark Stadium. With the victory, Lewisburg will face West Catholic, a 55-14 winner over Northern Lehigh, next Saturday afternoon for the PIAA AA Eastern Final at HersheyPark Stadium at 1 p.m.


While West Catholic poses the stiffest test Lewisburg will have faced to date, head coach Todd Tilford likes what his team has accomplished thus far in 2010.


“I think the sky is the limit with these kids,” Tilford said.


And for the first 26:14 of the game, the Green Dragons were sky-high.


After battling the Shamrocks through a scoreless first quarter, Lewisburg’s Camden Cassels hit Robert Gaines on a 21-yard pass on 4th-and-5 to the Trinity 1, and Nate Brown scored on the next play to break the goose eggs.


Then, the Green Dragons reached in their bag of tricks to push the margin to 14-0. Cassels hit Ryan Lopes on a pass in the flat, and Lopes lateralled the ball to a trailing Nickolas Kifolo, and Kifolo took it the remaining 58 yards on a hook-and-lateral play.


But the biggest play, in terms of breaking Trinity’s backs, came toward the end of the first half.


Trinity had driven deep into Green Dragon territory and had strung four first downs together and converted a 4th-and-9 with a 10-yard pass to the Lewisburg 21. But two plays after the fourth-down conversion, Patrick Dill was intercepted by Gaines, who returned the pick 99 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.


“Robbie’s been clutch for us all year,” Tilford said. “He’s not a speedster, though. Maybe he was aided by the wind.”


The 14-point swing was critical, said Trinity head coach Bill Ragni Jr.


“We got a little beleagered and a little down,” Ragni said. “We needed to get something going, and that didn’t happen until the third quarter.”


The Shamrocks didn’t get things revved up until Lewisburg pushed the margin to 28-0 on a Merle Moscarello 66-yard scoring run.


Adam Geiger scored two short touchdown runs to bring the margin to 28-14 and Dill capped the game scoring with a 28-yard pass to sophomore Danny Jackson.


Ragni was impressed with Lewisburg’s team speed.


“We were warned that they were faster than they looked on film,” Ragni said. “And they tackled well today. We didn’t tackle well today.


“We played very hard in the second half,” Ragni continued. “For these guys to come as far as they have with the new (offensive) system, you can look for some big things from these guys in the future.”


Moscarello finished with a game-high 127 yards on 16 totes, and Brown added 48 yards on 16 carries. Cassels completed 5-of-10 passes for 128 yards. Lewisburg amassed 283 yards of offense and 11 first downs


Geiger finished with 52 yards on 14 carries. Dill threw for 249 yards and completed 18-of-33 passes, but threw three interceptions. Trinity finished with 363 yards of offense and 19 first downs, but also committed eight penalties for 72 yards.

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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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