Central Catholic returns arsenal of talent from quarterfinalist team
The running back has been a starter off-and-on going on four seasons now, two linemen were all-conference honorees last season, the leading receiver is back, and the starting quarterback returns after an offseason in which he committed to Florida State.
Central Catholic is loaded with experienced senior talent.
“We weren't a real experienced team last year, and most of these kids got a chance to play and got their feet wet,” Vikings coach Terry Totten said. “I have a group of seniors that works hard, and certainly that always helps. So we're looking forward to getting after it.”
Central Catholic figures to return up to seven starters on both offense and defense, including running back Luigi Lista-Brinza, linemen Terrence Stanton and Zach DeLuca, receiver Shafer Swann and quarterback J.J. Cosentino.
All are seniors. Each has an impressive résumé: Stanton was named first-team Quad North on the offensive line and DeLuca on the defensive line as juniors. Lista-Brinza has more than 2,000 career rushing yards.
Swann, the son of Steelers Hall of Fame receiver Lynn Swann, had team highs in catches (20) and yards (318) last season. And Cosentino is considered the top quarterback college recruit in the state for his graduating class.
“We have most of our starters on offense and defense and all of our main players back, and with that experience, this year's going a lot more smoothly than last year,” Cosentino said.
“Everyone's been working real hard since we started workouts way back in January. We've been waiting for this for a long time. This is a real big, strong senior class, and we're all excited and pretty jacked up for football season.”
Safety Tre Tarpley, receiver Cam Sutherland and lineman Stephen Wood are other talented seniors who were part of last season's 8-3 team that had five shutouts and made it to the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals.
At Central Catholic, that's considered a “down” season; it was the most losses and the earliest postseason exit since 2009.
With so many prominent seniors together for one final run, Central Catholic has a chance to make its first trip to Heinz Field since winning the 2007 WPIAL title.
“The final goal is always the championship, and I don't think we can shy away from that,” Totten said. “I'd just like to see us playing our best football when it counts in mid-November.”