WPIAL CLASS AAA FINAL
Central Valley (11-1) vs. Thomas Jefferson (10-2)
9 p.m. kickoff at Heinz Field
FINAL SCORE: Thomas Jefferson 20, Central Valley 7.
Braden Pahanish with a wicked blindside sack of Chris Callaghan for an 8-yard loss moves Central Valley back to the its own 32. Callaghan responds by completing a 15-yard pass to Aris Tatalovich. Warriors now faced fourth-and-3, and the pass falls incomplete. TJ takes over at the CV 47 with 1:24 to play.
What’s scary about this Thomas Jefferson team is how many underclassmen it has on the roster. Most of the Jaguars’ key players return next season, when TJ likely will start the season as the favorite.
Chris Callaghan’s pass is intercepted in the end zone by TJ’s Nick Freiwald, who makes a nice catch to prevent a touchdown. The Jaguars take over at their own 20 with 5:18 remaining.
Central Valley had scored 40 points or more eight times this season and was averaging 49.7 points a game in the playoffs. The Warriors have one touchdown against Thomas Jefferson, and that came on an interception return. TJ’s defense has been absolutely dominant.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Thomas Jefferson 20, Central Valley 7.
HALFTIME: Thomas Jefferson 14, Central Valley 0.
Thomas Jefferson has outgained Central Valley, 184-47, in total offense. Quinton Hill has rushed for 69 yards on 12 carries and Braden Pahanish for 54 yards on three carries, including a 57-yard TD run. Bobby Kelley is 7 of 12 for 58 yards and a touchdown. Central Valley’s Kyle Vreen has 10 rushing yards on five carries. Chris Callaghan is 7 of 16 for 62 yards, including five completions to Kurt Reinstadtler for 61 yards.
Bobby Kelley throws a perfect corner fade to Zane Zandier for a 9-yard touchdown to give Thomas Jefferson a 14-0 lead over Central Valley at 2:13 in the first half.
TJ’s Bobby Kelley throws a deep pass to Jon Muelbauer on a post and he’s wide open, only to drop the ball at the 1-yard line. Muelbauer drops to his knee and buries his helmet in his hands in the end zone.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Thomas Jefferson 7, Central Valley 0.
WPIAL CLASS AA FINAL
South Fayette (12-0) vs. Aliquippa (12-0)
5 p.m. kickoff at Heinz Field
FINAL: Aliquippa 44, South Fayette 38
HALFTIME: South Fayette 24, Aliquippa 22
South Fayette QB Drew Saxton has completed 15 of 26 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Ryhan Culberson has five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns, while Nick Ponikvar has four catches for 78 yards. For Aliquippa, Kaezon Pugh has 146 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Sheldon Jeter is 4 of 9 for 69 yards, with three going to Jassir Jordan for 64 yards. The Quips have a 313-255 edge in total offense, but South Fayette has a 14-13 edge in first downs.
Jassir Jordan intercepts a Drew Saxton pass at the Aliquippa 41, then catches a jump-ball at the South Fayette 33. But the Quips fumble, and it’s recovered by Andrew Gedrys at the Lions’ 35. … South Fayette is forced to punt, but it’s muffed by Thomas Perry and recovered at the 22 by Ryhan Culberson with 1:25 remaining. The Quips sack Saxton on back-to-back plays to force a third-and-23 for South Fayette, which calls timeout. Dan Trimbur converts a 31-yard field goal as time expires to give South Fayette a 24-22 halftime lead.
And just like that, Aliquippa gets a 44-yard scoring run from sophomore Kiyon Fooks and a two-point pass from Sheldon Jeter to Jassir Jordan to give the Quips a 22-21 lead over South Fayette with 3:06 remaining in the first half.
After trailing 14-0, South Fayette has scored 21 unanswered points for a 21-14 lead at 3:49 of the second quarter. A holding penalty negated a long pass play, but the Lions covered 85 yards and scored on a 15-yard pass from Drew Saxton to Ryhan Culberson.
Drew Saxton connects with Ryhan Culberson on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 11:04 left in the second quarter, as the Lions tie the Quips at 14-14.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA FINAL
Central Catholic (11-1) vs. Penn-Trafford (12-0)
2 p.m. kickoff at Heinz Field
FINAL SCORE: Central Catholic 24, Penn-Trafford 17
Tarabella’s onsides kick attempt doesn’t go the required 10 yards, and Central takes over at the P-T 45. On third-and-5, Vinny Emanuele picks up a tough 5 yards for a first down. Central goes into victory formation, and Troy Fisher takes a knee to clinch the victory.
Penn-Trafford gets a big pass play from Brett Laffoon to Jonah Lisbon for an 18-yard gain to the Central 28, but Kurt Hinish sacks Laffoon on the next play for a 5-yard loss. Surprisingly, the Warriors were called for illegal motion and Central accepted the penalty instead of the sack. Instead of a second-and-14, P-T had another first-and-10 and Laffoon found Tyler Bruno with a back-shoulder throw for 19 yards to the Central 9. A Central personal foul penalty gave the Warriors a first-and-goal at the 3. The first-down pass is knocked down by Timothy Terry. The second-down pass, intended for Bruno, falls incomplete with 1:35 left. The third-down play, a pitch to Lisbon for a pass back to Laffoon — who was wide open — was broken up by Central defensive end Rashad Wheeler. The Warriors settled for a Nick Tarabella 17-yard field goal to cut it to 24-17 with 1:24 remaining.
Central Catholic adds a Jake Rocchi 24-yard field goal to extend its lead to 24-14 with 2:47 remaining. Joey Peduzzi returns the ensuing kickoff to the Central 47.
Central Catholic’s Ronnie Jones/photo by Christopher Horner Trib Total Media
Ronnie Jones takes a second-and-8 handoff from the Central 28, spins out of the grasp of Penn-Trafford DE Chris Stanford and breaks a 72-yard run for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead with 10:15 remaining. This time, no flags.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Penn-Trafford 14, Central Catholic 14.
Brett Laffoon goes deep for Tim Vecchio, who makes a catch in coverage for a 39-yard gain and draws a pass interference penalty from Central safety Bricen Garner in the process. … After a big run and another Central penalty, Penn-Trafford now has a first-and-goal from the 2. Jonah Lisbon picks up 1 yard to set up Laffoon’s 1-yard scoring run at 4:48. … The point-after kick by Nick Tarabella is good, and it’s tied at 14-14.
HALFTIME: Central Catholic 7, Penn-Trafford 0.
A false start penalty on fourth-and-1 forces Central to punt. Fisher boots a rugby style punt from the 41 that rolls and is downed at the Penn-Trafford 2 with 1:39 remaining in the first half.
Troy Fisher finds Ronnie Jones on a screen pass, and Jones goes 70 yards for a touchdown — but this one is called back by a penalty, too. This time, it’s for an ineligible man downfield. Central now has a third-and-10 at its 25. Fisher runs for an 8-yard gain, but the Vikings will punt.
Central QB Troy Fisher rolls left and finds Damar Hamlin for a first down, but Hamlin is on the receiving end of a high-low hit and is down on the field and being attended to by trainers. … Hamlin is up but limping while being helped off the field.
Penn-Trafford punts to Ronnie Jones, who receives it near the right sideline and returns it 74 yards for a touchdown. But this one is going to be called back by a pair of penalty flags for blocking in the back by the return team. Central takes over at its own 16.
On third-and-4, Brett Laffoon connects with Joey Peduzzi for a 22-yard gain to the P-T 42. First big play and first down for the Warriors. … Central sophomore David Green knocks down a Laffoon pass to force a third-and-8.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Central Catholic 7, Penn-Trafford 0.
Tim Vecchio returns the ensuing kickoff 44 yards to the Penn-Trafford 49-yard line, where he is tackled by kicker Jake Rocchi. That’s Rocchi’s fifth tackle of the season, by the way. … On second-and-12 at the Central 43, Joey Peduzzi fumbles but was ruled down.
Central Catholic scores first, on a 3-yard run by Ronnie Jones on third-and-goal, to take a 7-0 lead over Penn-Trafford at 7:11 of the first quarter.
WPIAL CLASS A FINAL
Clairton (12-0) vs. Jeannette (11-1)
11 a.m. kickoff at Heinz Field
FINAL SCORE: Clairton 40, Jeannette 0.
The Bears were led by QB Aaron Mathews, who rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and completed 7 of 15 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Lamont Wade rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries and had three catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Harrison Dreher added a 98-yard kick return, 61 yards rushing on eight carries and 22 yards receiving on three catches. Daniel Payo led the Bears with 11 tackles (seven solo, two for loss).
Clairton outgained Jeannette, 403-141, in total offense. The Jayhawks didn’t have any 110-yard rushers or receivers. Swade Redman had 36 yards on six carries and 19 yards on one catch.
HALFTIME: Clairton 26, Jeannette 0.
If you’re wondering why Clairton is dominating this game, check out Jeannette’s white uniforms. Gio Vonne Sanders is the only whose uniform is dirty. You’re not going to beat the Bears at Heinz Field without getting some dirt on your uniform.
Clairton scores again, this time on a 3-yard pass from Aaron Mathews to Lamont Wade, at 6:23 of the second quarter. The Bears’ two-point conversion fails, as a high pitch is fumbled out of bounds. Clairton leads, 26-0.
On a second-and-9 at the Clairton 9, Aaron Mathews throws a swing pass in the flat to Lamont Wade, who races 91 yards along the home sideline for a touchdown at 9:44 of the second quarter. The Bears drew a penalty for having too many men on the field, and their two-point pass intended for Devlin Clifford fell incomplete. Clairton leads, 20-0.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Clairton 14, Jeannette 0.
Jeannette gets a big pass play, from Gio Vonne Sanders to Swade Redman for a first down at the Clairton 17 at 4:37 of the first quarter. The drive stalls with a fourth-and-17 at the 24, so Redman attempts a 41-yard field goal. But it’s blocked by Walter Britton, and Clairton takes over on downs.
Aaron Mathews caps Clairton’s second drive with a 4-yard scoring run. His two-point pass intended for Harrison Dreher fell incomplete. Bears lead, 14-0, at 7:53 of first quarter.
Clairton’s Harrison Dreher returns the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, and Lamont Wade runs for the two-point conversion to give the Bears an 8-0 lead 16 seconds into the first quarter.