Central Catholic, Penn-Trafford set for first-round matchup
Talk to Central Catholic coach Terry Totten about the Vikings' WPIAL first-round playoffs opponent, and he sees much of his own team.
“They're like us,” Totten said of Penn-Trafford. “Some of their best guys are young guys. But I don't think they're giving anything away, fundamentally.”
Sixth-seeded Penn-Trafford entertains 11th seeded Central Catholic in a Class AAAA postseason opener Friday night, and both teams have carved their niche this season to enter the playoffs with 7-2 records.
Central Catholic relies on the running of junior Luigi Lista-Brinza; Penn-Trafford counts on the passing of Dorian Stevens, who returns after sitting out last week's 16-0 victory over Hempfield with an injury.
“We're healthy now, thank goodness,” Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said.
Central Catholic's defense has been stingy, giving up just eight points per game and registering shutouts in the past two. Penn-Trafford, though, is comfortable playing at home, where it's 3-1, the only blemish a 42-0 setback to No. 2 Gateway on Oct. 19.
The Gators knocked Penn-Trafford out of the 2011 WPIAL playoffs in the quarterfinals.
“What our guys understand about that game is that when you play a team of that caliber, you definitely see a difference in team speed,” Ruane said. “In that regard, I think it helped us.”
It also helps that the Warriors are coming off that shutout of Hempfield, despite playing without Stevens and running back Devin Austin, who has combined with Tom Stinelli to rush for more than 1,200 yards.
Stinelli carried the running load against Hempfield, gaining a season-high 162 yards.
“They are a good football team, well-coached,” Totten said. “John is a good football coach and a good guy. He's doing all the right things there. Their blocking schemes, their running game, the passing game, they're a very balanced team.”
Central Catholic has enjoyed decidedly better success in the postseason, winning WPIAL championships in 2003, '04 and '07 and reaching the semifinals in 2010 and '11.
Penn-Trafford, which lost to Central Catholic, 42-0, in the WPIAL first round in 2008, played for its only title in 1997, losing to Upper St. Clair, 28-27.
Lista-Brinza enjoyed a return to success he said as a freshman, when he rushed for 779 yards and eight touchdowns in 2010 while replacing injured starter Damion Jones-Moore, who is a freshman at Toledo.
After waiting to return to the lineup while backing up Jones-Moore in 2011, Lista-Brinza is bidding to surpass his rushing total of 2010. He gained 701 yards for a 6.5 average during the regular season.
“He's a bit of a grinder, a tackle-breaker,” Totten said. “He's a fantastic guy, a fantastic player.”
Central Catholic reached the WPIAL semifinals in 2011 with Jones-Moore in the backfield behind quarterback Perry Hills, the Maryland recruit who was the Terrapins' starter as a freshman until a torn ACL ended his season Oct. 20 against N.C. State.
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-380-5617.
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.
- UPMC McKeesport president reiterates hospital will remain open
- ‘Last of the downtown mansions’ demolished in McKeesport
- McKeesport man whose dog bit officer waives charges to court
- TSA fee increase this week arrives with load of complaints
- Dodgers rough up rusty starter Volquez, knock off Pirates at PNC Park
- Latrobe’s Ci Medical Technologies transforms to medical device business
- Derry Township assault suspect arrested
- Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
- Moody’s downgrades Pa. rating; Corbett ponders pension reform session
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- Pirates notebook: Polanco, Puig held out of series opener