Central Catholic rallies from 28-7 deficit, pulls away from Pine-Richland

Friday, September 10, 2021 | 11:37 PM

After a disappointing loss to Seneca Valley in the final moments last week, Pine-Richland was extra motivated to upset Class 6A No. 1 Central Catholic. Instead, the Vikings made sure the Rams were disappointed again.

The Vikings (2-1) came back from 21 points behind to avoid an upset as Central Catholic defeated Pine-Richland (0-3), 49-35, in a nonconference game Friday night at Pine-Richland Stadium.

“It’s a tribute to the kids and the work they’ve put in,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. “They really put in a good summer, and they’re in good shape. We just had to convince them it was going to pay off when we put 24 minutes on the clock for the second half.”

Central Catholic senior Gannon Carothers led the Vikings with almost 300 total yards and finished with four touchdowns: two on the ground, one through the air and one on a kickoff return.

Carothers made his presence known throughout the game with big plays. All of his touchdowns covered more than 50 yards. The Vikings tied the score, 35-35, with 7 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Carothers ran it in from 59 yards.

On the Vikings’ next drive, sophomore quarterback Payton Wehner found Carothers on a wheel route down the left side for a 58-yard touchdown to give the Vikings their first lead of the game with 3:27 remaining in the third.

The Vikings scored four unanswered touchdowns to complete the comeback and build the two-touchdown lead.

“We came out a little softer. We didn’t have the best start, but we didn’t have it out of our mind that we were going to win this game.” Carothers said. “We outworked them, and we kept at it. Our whole team came together. Anyone can win a game with the talent and the play scheme, but it’s all about chemistry and keeping at it.”

This was the first time the two teams squared off since the 2019 Class 6A final, which the Vikings won 10-7.

Central Catholic was unable to stop the Pine-Richland offense for the Rams first four drives for the game. The Rams built a 28-7 lead with under nine minutes remaining in the first half.

The Vikings got their first stop of the game with 6:23 remaining in the first. Central Catholic cut into the Rams lead after Wehner scored on a 13-yard run to make it 28-14 with 4:56 remaining in the first half.

After another quick stop of the Rams offense, the Vikings didn’t waste time again as Carothers took it 75 yards after he hit the hole on the right side for a touchdown to make it 28-21 with less than three minutes remaining.

Senior quarterback Cole Boyd led Pine-Richland with 246 yards and three touchdown passing. Boyd connected with junior Luke Rudolph on his first and third touchdown passes, and senior Alex Gochis caught Boyd’s second touchdown of the game.

Junior running back Ryan Palmieri scored two touchdowns on the ground for the Rams, including a 24-yard run to give the Rams a 28-7 lead in the second quarter.

“All their scores were long scores, and a lot of them were on third-down situations. That has to be eliminated, “ Pine-Richland coach Steve Campos said. “I was proud of my kids. They worked hard. We just have to learn how to finish a game.”

Listen to an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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