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Central Catholic survives titanic clash with Archbishop Wood

Written by: on Sunday, September 4th, 2011. Follow Josh Funk on Twitter.


MONROEVILLE, Pa. – There’s something about the big stage of Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s season openers and the performances of Damion Jones-Moore.

The career 3,400-yard rusher torched Youngstown Ursuline for more than 200 yards in 2009, then ran for 110 more to open the Vikings’ 2010 opener against eventual Ohio state champ Akron Buchtel.  So 2011 figured to be no different, especially since Central’s game with Archbishop Wood was being televised nationally on ESPN2.

“He set his mind that he was going to have a great game,” said Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten. “He knew Peoples (Archbishop Wood’s senior back Desmon Peoples) was a great back with BCS offers.”

Pittsburgh Central Catholic (1-0) got a game-high 192 rushing yards on 17 carries from Jones-Moore and got a game-sealing 69-yard run from quarterback Perry Hills to fend off a physical, punishing, rugged effort from Archbishop Wood (0-1) for a 20-17 victory in the Gateway Kickoff Classic from Antimarino Stadium in Monroeville.

The ending wasn’t without controversy – Archbishop Wood kicker Nick Visco lined up to attempt a game-tying 40-yard field goal with 1:14 left in the game, but the kick was ruled to have sailed just slightly wide of the left upright of the north goal post.  Visco stood in shock on the field after the call.  It was his second field goal attempt of the game ruled no good.

“I thought it went through (the uprights), but I’m not standing out there in the center of the field,” said Wood head coach Steve Devlin. “The only thing you can do is to take the negative and turn it into a positive.”

Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten tipped his hat to Wood.

“We were fortunate to get a stop,” Totten said.  “They (Wood) are one hell of a football team – they’re big up front and have a lot of skill behind it.  They played a heck of a football game today.”

Central Catholic, the state’s consensus #1 AAAA team, got pushed right from the onset.  After forcing a three-and-out, Wood went 61 yards in four plays – all runs – to take a 7-0 lead on a Brandon Peoples 29-yard touchdown run on a trap play, coming out of the gate like gangbusters.

“They used the tailback and fullback effectively,” Totten said.  “That’s very tough to stop when a team runs it as good as Wood.”

“We did what we wanted to do,” Devlin said of Wood’s early game plan.

Central Catholic fired back quickly to break its goose egg.  Jones-Moore scored on a 51-yard run to slice Wood’s advantage to 7-6 with 3:19 left in the opening stanza, set up by a 39-yard connection from Hills to Brandon Farrell.  Jones-Moore’s big touchdown run lifted Central’s running game out of the doldrums, as up until that point, PCC had only four team carries for one solitary yard.

Wood widened its margin to 10-6 with 11:10 left in the first half on a Visco 35-yard field goal, but within two plays, the PCL reps were out of the lead.

Jones-Moore busted a 70-yard touchdown and Central had itself a 13-10 lead just 25 seconds after Visco’s field goal.  The scoring run was made possible by a punishing pancake block from PCC senior fullback Rob Brown, allowing Jones-Moore to find the sideline and rocket away from the Wood defense.

“I had great blocking (on that run),” Jones-Moore said.  “I wouldn’t want anyone else beside Rob Brown blocking for me.”

The game appeared to be swinging towards Central Catholic’s favor when Hills (6-of-13, 122 yards) hooked up with fellow Maryland recruit Anthony Nixon (4 rec., 75 yards) on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left in the third quarter, capping a 13-play, 76-yard, 6:10-drive.  Nixon caught three of his four passes on that drive.

But Wood was not done.  Brandon Peoples brought Wood to within 20-17 on its ensuing possession thanks to a 19-yard scoring run.  After both teams combined for three three-and-outs, that set the stage for Wood’s final drive.

Hatboro-Horsham transfer Benji Abercrombie got behind the Central Catholic defense and southpaw Joey Monaghan lofted a spiral his way, resulting in a momentum-shifting 57-yard completion to the CC 13 yard line.  That momentum, however, was short-lived, as the teams were called off the field for a 30-minute weather delay, believed to be caused by lightning in the area.

“We thought we had it (set up),” Devlin said. “We ran some crossing action and Benji got behind them.”

On Wood’s third play following the stoppage, Monaghan was sacked for a 10-yard loss, setting the stage for Visco’s game-tying 40-yard field goal attempt.

Wood finished the day with 335 yards of offense – an impressive 226 of that came by way of the ground game, spearheaded by the line play of Nick Arcidiacono, Brandon Arcidiacono, Frank Taylor, Fran Walsh, George Griffin and tight end Colin Thompson.  Desmon Peoples finished with 102 yards on 23 carries; Brandon Peoples added 87 yards on nine totes; Monaghan finished with six yards on nine carries; and Andrew Guckin had 33 yards on two rushes.  Monaghan threw for 109 yards on a 6-of-7 day, and did not turn the ball over.

Central Catholic, paced by Jones-Moore’s effort on the ground, chewed up 289 yards, with additional contributions from Hills (six rushes, 71 yards, long of 69), sophomore Luigi Lista-Brinza (three rushes, 12 yards) and Nixon (13-yard rush in the third quarter).  Farrell added two receptions for 47 yards for PCC.

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Leave a Reply

10 Responses to “Central Catholic survives titanic clash with Archbishop Wood”

  1. YoVin says:

    I think the official skewed his view.
    Watch how he is bending backwards looking over his right shoulder. He was in the wrong position to begin with. He bent backwards looking over his right shoulder to follow the flight of the ball. Of course the ball was traveling left after it went through. These guys are should just be looking straight up and that’s it. Without bending, he may have seen it as good.

    Great game, OT would have been awesome!

    Archbishop Wood (PA) vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic (PA)

  2. Deo says:

    Where can I view this made/missed field goal?

  3. Bill Haws says:

    THE KICK WAS GOOD. Those refs blow calls all day but when they called the field goal wide that was just ridiculous. When you can clearly see it on TV go thru the uprights.

  4. Dog21 says:

    Are you serious? Seriously, are you serious? Did you actually watch the game? You were not impressed with the People’s cousins? Please explain what they did that made you so “unimpressed” with them or ABW. Desmon ran for over 100yds on a sore ankle, and Brandon ran for close to a 100 yds on offense and had 13 tackles on defense, including 1 sack. Oh, by the way, against the #1 AAAA team in the state.

    How can you make a statement like that? These are 17 year old kids we are talking about. You can’t give them their due?

  5. Brian says:

    not impressed with ABW? I guess u shouldn’t be that impressed with PCC then since they won by 3 points. Not bad for a AAA team to hang with one of the top AAAA teams in my opinion. ABW took the #23 team in the country to the final seconds. If anything, I wouldn’t be that impressed with PCC. Had a couple of plays at the end gone in ABW’s favor the outcome is a loss for PCC. I only saw a quick highlight of that FG and it looked like it mightve been good. I would have to see more highlights of it but at a quick glance it may have went through. I think ABW did very well against the PCC team.

  6. Zephfan says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this game. Great athletes on both teams.

  7. jimbo says:

    Phillyboy has no idea whgat he is talking about. To say that Central is a Pittsburgh All Star team ignores all of the facts. Last year’s PIAA AAAA champ, North Allegheny is from just North of Pittsburgh. Central has in no way dominated the WPIAL over the years. You are correct that they are the only big time Catholic HS in Pittsburgh, but in no way do they suck in all of the talent like the Catholic schools do in Philly.

  8. billy splain says:

    you need to spend more time on our site pcl….it was posted here a few times.

  9. phillyboy says:

    Pittsburgh Central Catholic has a great assemblage of talent. Buth they basically have a monopoly on the recruiting/attraction of high caliber players out there. They’re the only big time private high school football program in the Pittsburgh area. It’s essentially a Pittsburgh all-star team. Could you imagine if, say St. Joe’s Prep existed without the other PCL powers like LaSalle, Roman, Wood, O’hara. The talent and recruitng in the Phila. area gets spread out but in Pittsburgh it all goes to one place: PCC.

  10. PCL PROUD says:

    I did not know I could have watched this game on TV…err. Wood (AAA) played the consenus #1 AAAA team in the state basically even. That 1/2 hour delay must of hurt Woods cohesion and momentum. I wish they would advertise these games in the sports section at least. Any replays of this game on?