Road to Hershey Recaps: PIAA Football Saturday Afternoon

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Saturday, November 30, 2013 | 10:58 PM


After winning one of two Friday night, two more WPIAL football champions were in action on Saturday afternoon as both Pittsburgh Central Catholic and South Fayette headed north on Interstate 79. The Quad-A champion Vikings stayed on 79 all the way to Erie while the Double-A champion Lions turned east on Interstate 80 toward Clarion. Both came back home Saturday evening to Southwestern Pennsylvania with a win and the hopes of state gold still alive. Here are the summaries from both of those contests. 

PIAA CLASS AAAA QUARTERFINALS:

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 48 – Erie McDowell Trojans 7
The Vikings remained perfect on the season by following the same formula – a strong running game & a staunch defense – to defeat the Trojans 48-7 at Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium. Quarterback J.J. Cosentino scored a pair of first half touchdowns on runs of 1 & 8-yards. But the biggest play of the half came with :43 remaining. McDowell QB Jake Tarasovitch hit Jamie Szymczak with a short pass near midfield. Szymczak was crushed by Cody Troesch who jarred the ball loose. Linebacker Niko Thorpe picked up the fumble and rumbled 54-yards into the end zone to put Central Catholic up 21-0. Jeremy Herman muffed a punt which gave Central possession at the Trojan 3-yard-line. Luigi Lista-Brinza turned the mistake into 6 points with a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:40 left in the 3rd quarter. Erie McDowell got its only points of the game :30 into the 4th quarter. Tarasovitch hit Tyree Spearman with a short pass which the senior turned into a 26-yard catch & run for a touchdown. Any momentum the Trojans may have had was short lived, as John Petrishen picked up a short onside kick just :07 later and raced 47-yards untouched for the score to give Pittsburgh Central a 34-7 lead. Riley Redman added a 59-yard TD run and Grant Foster capped off the escorting with a 5-yard run with 3:48 left to make the final score 48-7. Lista-Brinza paced the Vikings ground game with 76-yards on 21 carries. Redman added 70-yards on the ground while Foster chipped in with 35-yards. Central Catholic outrushed the Trojans 203 to 24 on the afternoon. District 10 Champion Erie McDowell finishes the season at (7-6). The Vikings improved to (14-0) on the season and the WPIAL Quad-A Champions move onto the state semifinals to face Lower Dauphin (13-1).

PIAA CLASS AA QUARTERFINALS:

South Fayette Lions 56 – Karns City Gremlins 21
South Fayette scored the final 42 points of the game as the Lions downed Karns City, 57-21, Saturday afternoon. With the win, South Fayette advances to the PIAA semifinals for the second time in four seasons.  The Lions will face District 10 champion Hickory, 37-27winners over Martinsburg Central.  The game went back-and-forth through the first 17 minutes.  Karns City led 7-0 and 21-15.  Tristan Rhoades scored all three Gremlins' touchdowns, two short runs and a 32-yard interception return.  His third score put Karns City up by six with 7:37 remaining in the half.  Conner Beck scored on an 80-yard catch and run  and JJ Walker tallied on a 3-yard run, at the time, putting South Fayette up 15-7.After Rhoades' third score, Roman Denson's 35-yard kickoff return set the Lions up at the KC 45.  Five plays later, JJ Walker scored from a yard out, his second TD of the half, giving South Fayette a lead it would never give up.  Denson picked off Karns City quarterback Tyler Kepple, his fourth pick of the year.  Brett Brumbaugh found tight end Logan Sharp wide open on the first play for a 26-yard score, the second of five scoring passes on the afternoon.  The Lions forced a punt, getting the ball at their own 17-yard-line.  Eight passes later, Justin Watson broke to the post, catching an 18-yard strike, the first of three scoring receptions in the game for Watson.  Beck picked off Kepple, setting up South Fayette at the 45 with just under two minutes in the half.  Brumbaugh found Watson in the endzone along the sideline four plays later, giving the Lions four touchdowns in the final 6:16 of the half and a 43-21 lead at intermission.  For Karns City, it went from bad to worse in the second half as Kepple fumbled a third-down play, South Fayette recovering, the third takeaway of the game.  Brumbaugh found Watson again, connecting for a 21-yard score.  Four and a half minutes later, Walker's third score of the game pushed the margin past the 35-point barrier and the Lions into the semifinals.  Brumbaugh was 18-32-1 for 340 yards and five touchdowns, 319 yards in the first half.  Beck had five catches for 146 yards, Watson scored on the last three of his five receptions, totaling 71 yards. Sharp caught four passes for 83 yards.  The Lions rolled up 23 first downs and 500 yards total offense.  Karns City rushed for 127 yards, led by Wyatt Everetts' 48 yards on nine carries.  Nobody else had more than 23 yards.  Kepple finished the game 2-11-2 for 38 yards and did not complete a pass over the final 33 minutes of the game.  The Gremlins had 165 total yards and eight first downs, two after intermission.

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