WPIAL Class 2A playoff preview: Can Serra Catholic pull off another upset at Sto-Rox?

Thursday, November 5, 2020 | 6:02 PM

No. 7 Serra Catholic (5-0) vs. No. 3 Sto-Rox (7-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium at Sto-Rox HS

On the air: Video at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Jose Regus, Serra Catholic; LaRoi Johnson, Sto-Rox

Players to watch: Max Rocco, Serra Catholic (Jr., 6-0, 170, QB); Austin Jones, Sto-Rox (Jr., 5-11, 165, QB)

Last week: Serra Catholic 21, McGuffey 14; Sto-Rox 21, Laurel 20

Four downs

1. Serra Catholic proved that football can be a game of inches in the Eagles’ dramatic quarterfinal win at McGuffey. With the game tied 14-14 and under one minute left, a Highlanders field goal try hit the upright and was no good. A couple of plays later, Serra junior Jayvon Holt scored on a 68-yard pass play with 29 seconds left for the thrilling victory.

2. Eagles junior quarterback Max Rocco was impressive in his second playoff start. He hit on 18-of-31 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner with a half a minute left in regulation. Rocco is 101 yards shy of 1,000 yards passing for the season with 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

3. Sto-Rox made it seven straight wins since an opening-night forfeit loss to Carlynton due to injuries and ineligible players, but it needed a comeback to pull it off. The Vikings trailed 14-0 at the half and 20-14 in the fourth quarter before scoring the game-tying touchdowns late. Instead of going for two points, which they have done most of the season, sophomore Adam Devine booted home the game-winning point in a Class 2A thriller.

4. Who will be the quarterback for Sto-Rox on Friday? After getting a majority of the snaps in the regular season and passing for 1,250 yards, sophomore Josh Jenkins was replaced by junior quarterback Austin Jones. Jones responded with 18-of-24 passing for 281 yards, a touchdown pass and the game tying 3-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Extra point: As the No. 7 seed, Serra Catholic is the highest left in any of the classifications after opening night. The Eagles are trying to reach the WPIAL championship game for the first time since winning it all in 2007. Since then, the Vikings have played in and lost in four WPIAL football title games, in 2001, 2012 and 2019 to Clairton and in 2013 to North Catholic. These programs have only played four other times, and all of the meetings were in consecutive years. The only win for Serra came in 1984, 27-23. Sto-Rox won by a 14-12 score in both 1985 and 1986 and in 1987, the Vikings prevailed, 34-0.

Preview the other WPIAL Class 2A semifinal:

No. 4 Apollo-Ridge prepared for taste of own medicine from No. 1 Beaver Falls

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