St. Joe’s Prep Pounds Central Catholic for PIAA 6-A Title
Sunday, December 11, 2016 | 1:36 AM
For the third time in four seasons, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (14-2) made the cross-state strip to Hershey, in search of what would be a second-consecutive PIAA title.
However, this trip was not as sweet as last year’s 21-18 victory over Parkland, as the Vikings fell to St. Joseph’s Prep (14-0) by a final score of 42-7 in the first ever Class 6A Championship Game.
Despite the lopsided margin of victory, both teams were scoreless after 12 minutes of play. It was D’Andre Swift, the University of Georgia commit, who broke the frigid air at HersheyPark Stadium Saturday evening with a 34-yard touchdown scamper with a little under five minutes to go in the first half.
Just minutes later, a short punt gave the Hawks the ball at the Central Catholic 35. St. Joe’s wasted no time. Darryle Simmons hauled in a 35-yard touchdown catch from Marquez McCray with only 13 seconds to play in the first half, taking a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
After halftime, the Hawks continued to roll. Following a botched punt by Central Catholic, St. Joe’s pulled out a gadget play, as Terrance Green caught a 20-yard pass from wide receiver Richard Carr on the reverse pass.
After J.J. Younger fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Swift tacked on a one-yard scoring run. Justice Evans did manage to get Central Catholic on the scoreboard as time expired in the third quarter with a 19-yard run.
As it seemed the Vikings had some momentum on their side, Green returned the following kickoff 94 yards to make it a 35-7 lead, while Swift punched another score in from six yards out, capping off a perfect season for the Hawks and a 42-7 win the Class 6A title game.
“I think we learned that what other people say doesn’t matter,” said Central Catholic quarter back Troy Fisher. “That’s the best defensive I’ve seen in my time. Trying to cram in 12 different coverages and fast guys off the edge was a good learning experience. I have four progressions but I could only get through two of them.”
Fisher threw for 52 yards and rushed for 22 more. Younger rushed 13 times for 62 yards as the Vikings saw their 14-game win streak snapped. Central Catholic’s two losses bookend a stellar season in district play, with the other loss coming in Week Zero to St. John’s out of Washington D.C.
Defensively, Tim Terry had a game-high 11 tackles, including four for loss for Central Catholic, which forced three interceptions of St. Joe’s Quarterback Marquez McCray.
The Vikings, which fumbled away the ball four times, were 0-for-9 on third downs and 0-for-2 on fourth down tries, but did hold St. Joe’s to a 2-for-11 struggle on third downs.
Swift finished with 140 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries for St. Joe’s, which wins it’s third state title for the Hawks after back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014. District 12, more commonly known as the Philadelphia Catholic League, began play in the PIAA back in 2009.
Score by Quarter:
St. Joseph’s Prep 0 – 14 – 14 – 14 = 42
Central Catholic 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 = 7
4:48 – SJP – D’Andrew Swift 34-yard run (Anthony Tigano kick)
0:13 – SJP – Darryle Simmons 35-yard pass from Marquez McCray (Tigano kick)
10:12 – SJP – Terrance Green 20-yard pass from Richard Carr (Tigano kick)
8:58 – SJP – Swift 1-yard run (Tigano kick)
0:00 – PCC – Justice Evans 19-yard run (Matt Olon kick)
11:41 – SJP – Green 94-yard kickoff return (Tigano kick)
3:58 – SJP – Swift 6-yard run (Tigano kick)
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