Fireworks aplenty as Sto-Rox gets past Serra Catholic and into Class 2A finals

Friday, November 6, 2020 | 11:50 PM

The WPIAL Class 2A semifinal game between Sto-Rox and Serra Catholic had all the makings of a shootout as two prolific offenses with play-making athletes took the field Friday night.

It definitely did not disappoint, and after the dust settled, it was the Vikings who cashed in on more opportunities in a 49-38 victory.

The key plays of the game came courtesy of the Sto-Rox defense. After Serra scored a touchdown in the third quarter to close to 42-32, a line drive kickoff bounced off a Vikings player right to the Eagles, who pounced on the loose ball.

But Sto-Rox held and forced a punt. Then on Serra Catholic’s next possession, Jaymont Green-Miller picked off a Max Rocco pass and went 46 yards for the touchdown.

“This was like one of those Big 12 games where you’re in a shootout and you’re pulling your hair out because of your defense,” Vikings head coach LaRoi Johnson said. “Ultimately, we were able to make a stop that helped us seal the game. It gave us a big boost getting that stop.”

Thanks to a 33-yard punt return by Green-Miller, Sto-Rox took over at the Serra 37. Five plays later, Vikings quarterback Austin Jones found Josh Jenkins for a 13-yard touchdown. The score gave the Vikings back the lead 34-32 in what was a seasaw battle.

“We needed to cash in on every possession tonight and we left a lot out there on the field,” Eagles head coach Jose Regus said. “(Sto-Rox) is a good team. There were a lot of athletes on the field tonight.”

However, Serra was not out of it and began to move the ball yet again. The drive stalled thanks in part to a 5-yard loss on a jet sweep that put the Eagles behind the chains. A 13-yard punt gave Sto-Rox the football just on their side of midfield at the 48.

On the third play of the drive, Zay Davis scampered around the right side and down the sidelines for a 38-yard touchdown. Serra was flagged for an offside call on the point after, which gave the Vikings a chance to go for two. Diontae Givens took the direct snap and went in, making it 42-32.

After Paul Pearson gained 12 on first down for Serra Catholic, quarterback Max Rocco wanted to take a shot. His pass went off the hands of receiver Jayvon Campbell-Holt and into the hands of Green-Miller, who went 46 yards for the touchdown. The extra point made it 49-32 with just 6:29 left.

“We had a great season, with covid and everything, all the obstacles and things that got in our way,” Regus said. “We missed two games, a lot of things. Overall, it was a great season.”

There were big plays all over the field, and it was the Vikings who made more of them. Sto-Rox likes to spread the ball around and with that many weapons, they are hard to stop.

“Our players just make plays. They don’t really worry about who’s getting the ball,” Johnson said. “They just know that when it’s time to make their plays, they step up and make the play. That right there is big time.”

Serra wasted little time in making their first big play as Rocco hit Machai Brooks-Dutrieuille on a screen pass on the first play from scrimmage, and he went 54 yards for the game’s first score. Rocco threw for four touchdowns in the game, including a 29-yarder later in the first quarter to Terrell Booth. His other passing scores were a 3-yarder to Campbell-Holt and a 5-yard pass to Daiquan Chatfield.

Jones had a 78-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as well and Davis a 5-yard run.

Sto-Rox advances to the WPIAL Class 2A final and will oppose Beaver Falls on Saturday.

“It’s going to be a good game. I know we will look forward to it,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a rumble and we like it.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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