North Catholic cruises past Leechburg
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Leechburg had hoped to end its season on a high note after losing last week.
First-place North Catholic (7-2, 7-1) offered the Blue Devils (1-8, 1-7) little opportunity for redemption, jumping out to an early lead on their way to clinching the top spot in the Class A Eastern Conference with a 35-8 win.
It may have been Senior Night, but sophomore P.J. Fulmore was intent on being the center of attention. Fulmore ran for 46 yards as the Trojans marched down the field on a four-minute opening drive that ended in a 2-yard Jared Fragapane touchdown run.
“(Fulmore is) the heart and soul of this team,” said North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl. “He's really stepped up and surprised some people, but it doesn't surprise us.”
What seemed to surprise Leechburg was how North Catholic used the no-huddle offense to methodically run time off the clock in the first half.
However, the Blue Devils' defense rose to the occasion, creating two turnovers inside their own 30-yard line despite allowing Fulmore to gain 128 yards on 22 carries in the first half alone.
“We played a different defense tonight than we did the rest of the year,” said Leechburg coach Mark George. “We wanted to catch them off guard. The guys were pretty fired up about it, and I thought they executed pretty well.”
While the Leechburg defense created timely turnovers, the offense couldn't hold onto the ball.
“Mistakes killed us,” George said. “A fumble and interception that led to two touchdowns. If we hold onto the ball in those situations instead of giving them the ball inside the 20, we would have had a better chance.”
After holding North Catholic to one score in the first quarter, Leechburg had several opportunities to take control of the game. But after forcing a turnover on downs in the second quarter, the Blue Devils fumbled, and Josh Churchin returned it to the Leechburg 23. Fulmore later ran it in from the 4.
Quarterback Adam Sharlow scored from 3 yards out with 36 seconds remaining in the half to give the Trojans a 19-point lead.
Leechburg's lone touchdown came on a 52-yard pass from Tyler Dubovi to Jacob Lellimo.
“We knew we were playing the conference champs tonight,” George said, “and we played hard.”
Jonathan Cyprowski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WPIAL teams value hard-to-come-by nonconference games in Week 1
- Through the years: Heard’s TD capped Valley rally
- Previewing Week 1 high school football matchups
- Connellsville’s Knopsnider will split time on both sides of ball this season
- High school football teams ready to start 2014 season
- Football pedigree runs deep with Valley receiver Hill
- H.S. Picks ‘tunes’ up for new season
- Monessen isn’t talking ‘rebuild’
- Three of a kind: Football coaches who took different routes
- Heavy-hearted Burrell set to take on rival Valley
- Standout RB returns to lead Steel Valley