P.J. Fulmore doesn’t care which position he plays for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
He’s more worried about where the Trojans play.
After leading North Catholic to WPIAL and PIAA Class A championships last year, Fulmore is focused on helping the Trojans return to Heinz Field and Hersheypark Stadium again.
“That’s all that I’ve been thinking about lately,” Fulmore said. “We’ve been working all summer, since the winter to win another state championship.”
This is a year of major changes at North Catholic. The school moved from Troy Hill to a new campus in Cranberry, forcing Fulmore to make a 45-minute commute to school every day. It’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make, especially if it results in a repeat of the WPIAL and PIAA championships.
“We ended the old tradition with a state championship, so that was pretty nice,” Fulmore said. “We’re starting some new traditions and trying to keep the old traditions at North Catholic.”
One tradition continues for Fulmore: He could be playing another new position for the Trojans. My Thursday column is about how Fulmore, as a triple threat, is one of the WPIAL’s most versatile players.
Fulmore started at tailback and rushed for 1,820 yards and 24 touchdowns as a sophomore, but replaced the injured Adam Sharlow at quarterback late last season. Fulmore missed much of the first six weeks of the season but still finished with 1,213 yards rushing and 388 yards passing.
Now, with both Sharlow and tailback Jerome Turner returning, Fulmore could play receiver this season.
Sharlow rushed for 660 yards and six touchdowns and passed for 877 yards and eight touchdowns before tearing his ACL in Week 7. Turner rushed for 1,151 yards and 24 touchdowns. And sophomore Mario Latronica, who ran for 566 yards and eight touchdowns, gives North Catholic plenty of depth in the backfield.
“To be honest, they’re all great backs,” North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. “We feel they can be starting running backs on any other team. We feel we have a great advantage, and we’re trying to utilize that.”
Interestingly, of the 42 1,000-yard rushers in the WPIAL last season, Fulmore had the lowest yards per carry (5.1). Some of that had to do with carrying the ball 237 times. Some of it might have had to do with him playing quarterback and getting sacked or gains for only a few yards. Splitting him wide should put Fulmore in position to utilize his ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
“I have good acceleration and quickness and can see the field really well,” Fulmore said. “I just like having the ball in my hands. I’ll play anywhere. I just like being on the field.”
HITTING THE LINKS
The second segment of our countdown to football series, a daily look at the top five players at each position, plus one to watch, focuses on running backs. The latest trend is star tailbacks developing early, by Chris Harlan.
Here’s the highlight video for the No. 1 running back, Miles Sanders of Woodland Hills:
The inspiring story of a Hempfield golfer who is attacking the greens and chemo, by Andrew Erickson.
A youthful Connellsville golf team builds toward future, by Jason Black.
Quaker Valley girls soccer team sports new look in preseason camp, by Gary Horvath.
Seton-La Salle volleyball strives to repeat as section titlist, by Ray Fisher.
Bishop Canevin girls take field with new soccer coach this season, by Nathan Smith.
Central Catholic swimmer battles back from neck injury, by Michael Love.
Penn-Trafford field hockey team motivated after missing playoffs last year, writes Doug Gulasy.