Pittsburgh Central Catholic survived it's last major challenge prior to the WPIAL playoffs. The 21-7 shutdown of Gateway leaves the Vikings as the undisputed regular season king in Western Pennsylvania, and likely throughout the entire Commonwealth, barring a major collapse prior to the playoffs. Their win over Gateway kicks off a weekend full of games with playoff and championship implications.
Central Catholic pulled off the win by completely shutting down the Gators. Damion Jones-Moore has been hobbled by injuries of late and carried the ball 14 times for 50 yards. The Vikings got two scores from fullback Jason Luster and one from Perry Hills.
Gateway was held to negative yardage in the first half and did not score until the final minute of the game.
Central Catholic finishes the season against Altoona and Fox Chapel, who have one victory between them.
Central Catholic and Gateway was just one of several games this weekend that have some serious playoff implications across the entire state. Here's a quick look at other intriguing matchups:
Central Valley at Hopewell, 7 p.m. - A loss could mean no Rushel Shell in the playoffs. Hopewell has struggled - Shell's the only returning starter - and this game likely will determine whether the odds-on favorite to the be the state's top prospect in 2012 will be in the playoffs as a junior. Central Valley could make the WPIAL playoffs for the first time after coming into existence courtesy of a merger between Center and Monaca last year.
Erie McDowell at North Hills, 7 p.m. - North Hills is trying to establish itself as the third Quad-A power out west, but they're in a tough section. North Allegheny is tied with North Hills atop the section, but McDowell's first season in the WPIAL has shown the Trojans can hang with the best of them.
Council Rock South at Neshaminy, 7 p.m. - What could possibly be better than two 6-0 squads battling it out for some serious points in Division I? Something will have to give: CRS has allowed 21 points all season long, while Neshaminy has not scored fewer than 21 all season long.
La Salle at Father Judge, 2 p.m. Saturday - A surprise pick prior to the start of the season - Father Judge received very little publicity as a potential challenger in the Philly Catholic League - now has some pretty intense ramifications. A Father Judge win gives everyone in the AAAA section one loss and throws playoff seeding out the window. A LaSalle win certifies their status as top Catholic squad in AAAA in Philly prior to the Catholic League playoffs.
ACADEMIC ISSUES CONTINUE
Two teams are dealing with major academic issues as the season enters the home stretch. One's academic record has been chronicled of late, but another has joined the list just recently. Philadelphia's School of the Future, a Public League school, has forfeited its game this week against Imhotep Charter because nearly 40 players are academically ineligible. They're the second Philly Public League team to forfeit to Imhotep this year - Thomas FitzSimons did it in Week 1. At 1-5, School of the Future is not destined for the playoffs and will likely cobble together a schedule the rest of the season of other non-playoff teams.
Meanwhile, another academically struggling team is gearing up for the playoffs. Sto-Rox, near Pittsburgh, avoided potentially having to forfeit against South Side Beaver last week by altering a self-imposed academic policy to allow a two-week grace period for potentially ineligible players to regain their eligibility. They'll all be eligible this week against Western Beaver, but according to Pittsburgh-area media reports, roughly 15-20 players will not be eligible next week against Shenango. Sto-Rox is 5-1 and has all but locked up a playoff spot.
Girard's Joe Sobucki threw an 82-yard touchdown pass and caught a 79-yard touchdown pass last week in a win against Fort LeBeouf.
Fine, right? Happens occasionally.
Here's the catch: Sobucki accomplished it all on the same play.
Girard pulled a page from Boise State's playbook and used a trick play started by Sobucki for a score against the Bison. We'll let the Erie Times-News pick up the story: On a single play in the second quarter, Sobucki piled up some amazing stats. "With Girard at its 18-yard line, Sobucki dropped back to pass and threw a short completion to Anthony Stuart. As soon as he released the ball, Sobucki sprinted out of the backfield toward Stuart. Stuart then pitched to Sobucki, who caught the lateral at the 21 and sprinted 79 yards for a score."
The entire play counts as a pass play, and since the original reception was by Stuart, he gets credit for the catch. Sobucki gets credit for the pass, but not for a 3-yard catch (the difference between the catch and lateral). Since he didn't make the official catch, Sobucki doesn't get credit for a reception, but he does get 79 receiving yards.
Welcome to the wild world of football statistics.