Pgh Central Catholic Holds On for 4th PIAA Football Title
Saturday, December 19, 2015 | 11:15 PM
Over the lengthy course of an extended season, there are unexpected surprises – good or bad – that seem to pop up. Pittsburgh Central Catholic had one of those pleasant surprises in a 21-18 win over Parkland to win its fourth PIAA Championship in school history Saturday in junior running back J.J. Younger.
Younger found the end zone late in the third quarter off a 54-yard run, which proved to be the winning score despite a 21-0 lead at that point by the Vikings.
“This is probably the best game I’ve ever had,” said Younger. “Being out here on the big stage with my brothers; that’s what really pushed me tonight.”
There’s not much to argue with Younger’s assessment of his play. The quick, elusive back, who stands at 5-foot-8, led all rushers with 184 yards off 14 carries.
Despite no scoring in the first quarter, the Vikings seemed to be in control after the first 12 minutes of game action when Toledo recruit Ronnie Jones scampered in from six yards out, and Jacob Rocchi’s extra point made it 7-0 early in the second quarter. Jones doubled up with another six-yard touchdown run late in the half to extend the lead to 14-0 going into the locker room.
What appeared to be the dagger by Younger with eight minutes to go in the third quarter made it a three-score lead for Central Catholic, but Parkland battled back.
The Trojans scored twice in less than a minute in the fourth quarter to make it 21-11, then scored with 1:40 left in regulation to bring the deficit within a field goal. After recovering an onside kick earlier in the quarter, the Trojans tried another one once again, which went out of bounds despite a perfect high bounce to give Parkland a chance at a recovery.
Parkland had one final heave at the end zone with one second left from midfield, but the ball hung up in the air and was intercepted by Central Catholic.
The state crown for the Vikings goes along with the 1988, 2004 and 2007 PIAA championship teams from Central Catholic to give the score a record tying fourth Quad-A state title. Central Bucks West has also won four PIAA Class AAAA championships.
Score by quarter:
Pittsburgh Central Catholic : 0 – 14 – 7 – 0 = 21
Parkland : 0 – 0 – 0 – 18 = 18
PCC: Ronnie Jones 6 run (Jacob Rocchi kick) 9:31
PCC: Jones 6 run (Rocchi kick) 2:11
PCC: J.J. Younger 54 run (Rocchi kick) 8:02
PARK: Donovan Berger 37 kick 8:02
PARK: Zach Bross 33 pass from Devante Cross (Kenny Yeboah pass) 7:03
PARK: Yeboah 64 pass from Cross 1:40
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