Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Closer Look: St. Joe's Prep vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic


A Closer Look: St. Joe's Prep vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic

Blog Image
Junior Olamide Zaccheaus and St. Joseph's Prep (11-3) will take on Pittsburgh Central Catholic in the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game at 6 p.m. Sunday at HersheyPark Stadium. (Lou Rabito/Inquirer Staff)


St. Joseph's Prep, in its sixth year in the PIAA, is in position to claim its first state championship.

To make history, the Hawks will have to derail a Pittsburgh Central Catholic squad which is undefeated and has outscored foes by a combined 657-82.

Here is a closer look at Saturday's 6 p.m. final at HersheyPark Stadium.

Twitter. Follow @ozoneinq for updates.$TV. Live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Coaches. In four years at the Prep, Gabe Infante has compiled a 32-15 record (.681 winning percentage); Terry Totten is 97-13 (.882) in nine seasons at Central Catholic.

Projected starters. Go to philly.com/ozone.

History. Central Catholic leads the head-to-head series, 1-0. In the 2004 opener for both teams, the Vikings triumphed, 38-12, at Gateway.

Ranking. The Hawks (11-3) are ranked No. 2 in the state in Class AAAA by The Inquirer; the Vikings (15-0) are No. 1.

About Central Catholic. The Vikings are trying for their first state title since 2007 and fourth overall. They also won in 1988, 2004, and 2007. ... This year's team has won by an average margin of 38.3 points. ... A pro-style, run-heavy offense is headed by running backs Luigi Lista-Brinza (220 carries for 1,604 yards and 21 touchdowns) and Riley Redman (115 for 1,136, 16). ... Senior quarterback J.J. Cosentino has completed 40 of 86 passes for 766 yards and 12 scores, with three interceptions. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior has committed to play at Florida State ... Senior wideout Shafer Swann (11 catches for 353 yards and four TDs) is the son of former Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann. ... The Vikings' vaunted defense has yielded an average of 5.5 points, 49 yards rushing and 78 passing per game. A unit that has pitched seven shutouts is spearheaded by linebacker Niko Thorpe and ends Angelo Natter and Zach DeLuca. The 5-11, 220-pound Thorpe has offers from Stony Brook and Lafayette.

About the Prep. The Hawks have won four playoff games by a combined score of 143-82. ... Since returning from a left-knee injury that sidelined him for two games, Chris Martin has connected on 24 of 42 passes for 479 yards and four scores. Overall, the 5-10, 185-pound senior has hit on 141 of 223 throws for 2,066 yards and 26 TDs. ... The top ballcarriers in a hurry-up, spread attack are Olamide Zaccheaus, D'Andre Swift and Vince Moffett. ... The receiving threats are Swift, handyman John Reid and wideout Jawan McAllister. ... A 4-3 defense is led by ends Jake Strain and Joe DuMond, linebackers Ryan McNulty and Tom Johnson, cornerback Reid, and safeties Moffett and Dillon DeIuliis. Johnson, who missed the early part of the season with a left-foot injury, notched nine tackles, including seven solos, in last week's 37-21 win over Neshaminy. ... Pat Walsh has nailed 67 extra-point kicks and drilled two field goals. He also does the punting.

Analysis. We think the Vikings, with an advantage along the line of scrimmage and continued rushing success, thwart the Prep's title bid.

Pick. Central Catholic, 34-21.


Inquirer Columnist
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Rick O’Brien has been at The Inquirer since 1993, primarily covering high school sports in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Reach Rick at robrien@phillynews.com.

Rick O'Brien Inquirer Columnist
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
letter icon Newsletter