It's been over for a while. Now, it's official
That'll do it. No. 1 Central Valley runs away with this one, blowing by No. 2 North Catholic 52-15 to win the program's third consecutive WPIAL Class 3A championship.
Read more about the Warriors' championship victory by clicking the links below!
Trojans become 3rd team to put up double digit points on Warriors
With less than 30 seconds left in the contest, North Catholic sophomore WR Luke Baker runs into the end zone for a 13-yard TD. Backup sophomore QB Jason Siket adds on two more points, muscling his way past the goal line for a 2-point conversion. The Trojans cut their deficit to... 37 points. But they became only the third team this season to put up double digit points on the Warriors.
Quick 3rd quarter comes to a close
After a running clock began at the start of the second half, the third quarter of play ended with little action having taken place in the 12-minute frame. Central Valley added a touchdown to its lead, making it 52-7 as the fourth quarter gets set to begin.
The younger FitzSimmons finds the end zone
On a 2-yard rush, junior RB Bret FitzSimmons scores a touchdown with 5:49 left in the third quarter. With his older brother Sean having left his mark defensively in the first half, Bret looks to do the same in the second half of play. Central Valley leads 52-7.
Second half underway with running clock
A PIAA mercy rule dictates that when a team has a lead of 35 points or more in the second half, a running clock will start. So, with the Warriors up by 38 points to begin the third quarter, we've already got a running clock here. This half should fly by.
Game all but decided at the half
Central Valley has made North Catholic — the No. 2 seed in the WPIAL Class 3A — look like a JV football team. The Warriors tacked on three more points with a made FG as the final seconds of the second quarter ticked off the clock to take a 45-7 lead at the half.
Central Valley kicker Serafino DeSantis gets in on action
Junior kicker Serafino DeSantis caps off a stellar first half for the Warriors with a 36-yard field goal. Central Valley will take a 38-point lead into the break. Remember, folks, this is a WPIAL championship game...
North Catholic's Prentice throws 4th interception to... Thompson, again
Trojans QB Joey Prentice throws an ill-advised pass into double coverage and pays the price. Thompson snags his fourth interception of the contest at the goal line, continuing what's been a surreal performance for the junior. He returns this one 62 yards to get Central Valley down to the North Catholic 38-yard line.
Thompson filling up the stat sheet, scoring yet again
With 4:31 left in the first half, Thompson continues to fill up the stat sheet — getting it done on both sides of the ball. This time, the junior catches a 15-yard TD pass to further pad Central Valley's lead. That's his second TD of the afternoon. Warriors lead 42-7 with 4:31 to go in the first half.
The only thing more fun to watch than the birds this afternoon has been @JayvinThompson The Junior scores his second touchdown of the day on a dart from Johnson. PAT is good. Central Valley leads 42-7 with 4:31 left in the first half. pic.twitter.com/yPPwaFbp3p
— Noah Hiles (@_NoahHiles) November 27, 2021
Warriors knocking on door of end zone again
On 1st-and-10 from Central Valley's own 15, Alexander takes a handoff and finds a hole before running down the left sideline for a 54-yard gain. It was surprising to see the North Catholic DB that trailed him eventually get to the senior speedster. A facemask penalty adds 15 yards, and Central Valley is down to North Catholic's 15-yard line.
Johnson connects with Alexander for another score
North Catholic junior DL Daniel Long tried to make what appeared to be a great play, batting the Johnson's short pass... but the ball lands in the hands of Alexander. You can probably guess what happens next. The senior takes it the rest of the way for an 18-yard TD with 5:57 to go until halftime. Warriors now lead by four scores — 35-7.
Thompson with an interception hat-trick
With about seven minutes left in the second quarter, North Catholic's Prentice threw yet another interception (1-13 passing so far). And, again, it was Thompson, snagging his third pick of the afternoon before returning it 51 yards to get the Warriors into Trojan territory
The star senior RB looked like he had tapped the joystick a few times in NCAA Football 14, juking at least a couple Trojans into missed tackles before taking a carry 50 yards to the end zone for his first TD of the contest. Central Valley extends its lead — now up 28-7 with 9:10 remaining in the second quarter.
Jayvin Thompson makes a play worthy of SportsCenter's Top 10
Thompson jumps a North Catholic route and snags a one-handed interception on a pass by Trojans' senior QB Joey Prentice. He ran it all the way back from midfield to the end zone, but a holding call brings the play back. Either way, Warriors take over on offense.
— Noah Hiles (@_NoahHiles) November 27, 2021
Merritt does his best Tim Tebow impression
After stepping back and surveying the field, Merritt leaped up to throw a 14-yard jump pass to junior TE Jack Bible. Warriors are on the board — again. Now they lead North Catholic, 21-7 with 10:25 to go in the second quarter.
Central Valley controls momentum through 1st quarter
The first quarter ends with the Warriors on top, 14-7. Though Lyons' group only has a one-touchdown lead, they've seized the momentum here early — ending the first quarter of play with another forced turnover.
Warriors DT Sean FitzSimmons causes key fumble
Central Valley senior defensive tackle Sean FitzSimmons — a three-star Pitt commit — blows up yet another North Catholic play. He's been a nightmare for opposing offenses all season, and that trend has continued so far today. With less than minute remaining in the opening quarter, the 6-3, 280-pound human wrecking ball strips the ball from Trojans senior RB Kyle Tipinksi before falling on it at the Trojans' 29.
Central Valley strikes first on big play
Johnson steps back and dumps off a short pass to WR Jayvin Thompson, and the junior turns on the jets after catching it. He blows past several Trojan defenders on his way to a 69-yard score. Warriors on top now, 14-7, with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
Warriors fumble near midfield
Merritt breaks through a huge gap on a QB carry but doesn't protect the ball well — extending his right arm out in an attempt to get more yardage. The ball pops loose and North Catholic takes over on its own 43-yard line.
Alexander approaching 100 rushing yards in *one quarter*
Alexander already has 77 yards on the ground, and we've still got over three minutes left in the opening quarter. It's so early in the contest, but the senior could be en route to having an all-time great performance here at Heinz Field.
Trojans answer with house call
On the kickoff following Central Valley's TD, North Catholic senior RB Liam Straub returns a kickoff 92 yards for a TD. And just like that, we're tied 7-7 with 4:05 left in the first quarter.
After Alexander sets it up, Antwon Johnson finishes
Following a series of solid runs by Alexander, the Warriors found themselves on the 1-yard line, knocking on the door of the end zone. From there, Johnson punches it in from a yard out to put Central Valley on the board first. Warriors lead 7-0 with 4:20 left in the opening quarter.
Alexander becomes Central Valley's all-time leading rusher
With about 6:30 left in the first quarter, Alexander did it. On a four-yard rush, he passed Jordan Whitehead as the Warriors' leader in career rushing yards. The senior, per usual, is off to a hot start in this one.
QB/LB Matt Merritt starts contest behind center
Central Valley senior star Matt Merritt — a LB turned QB — started the game behind center for the Warriors. Merritt was named the starter at the start of the season, but Lyons' opted to switch to junior Antwon Johnson early in the season. Expect both Merritt and Johnson to share snaps at QB today.
North Catholic goes 3-and-out
After winning the opening coin toss and electing to receive, it took just a little over a minute for the Trojans to go 3-and-out. The offense gained 0 yards on that first drive.
Warriors take the field
Central Valley runs out of the tunnel here at Heinz Field. Head coach Mark Lyons' squad is looking to win its third consecutive WPIAL Class 3A championship before moving on to the PIAA playoffs to defend its state title.
Something to keep an eye on
Central Valley star senior running back Landon Alexander is only 32 yards away from breaking the Warriors' program record for career rushing yards (currently held by Jordan Whitehead of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Before we kick things off, here is a major storyline to keep an eye on: Central Valley running back @lalexander_ is only 32 yards away from passing @jwhite_333 as the program's all-time leading rusher. I spoke with both last week! Check out the story here:https://t.co/Dh0JB5r1aG
— Noah Hiles (@_NoahHiles) November 27, 2021
It's the start of the second day of action at Heinz Field and the two-time defending WPIAL champs are kicking things off. No. 1 Central Valley will face No. 2 North Catholic in a battle between two 12-0 teams. The Warriors, led by 12 year head coach Mark Lyons, look to win their third straight WPIAL Class 3A title and keep their 24-game winning streak alive.
Meanwhile, North Catholic, led by fifth year head coach Pat O'Shea, hopes to play spoiler, coming off a 7-0 shutout victory over No. 3 Avonworth last weekend. Kickoff for this one is at noon. Be sure to follow along here, along with checking out our live stats.
More on Central Valley
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Central Valley wins third consecutive WPIAL title in rout of North Catholic