Central Catholic downs North Allegheny, 27-0
Another ranked rival left the South Side scoreless.
Central Catholic junior Riley Redman ran for 187 yards, senior Devin Faloon scored three touchdowns and the Vikings' defense forced three turnovers in Friday night's 27-0 victory over Quad North visitor North Allegheny at Highmark Stadium.
Much like two weeks earlier when Seneca Valley was shut out, the Vikings were strong on their new home field.
The victory assures No. 1 Central Catholic (7-0, 6-0) a first-place finish in the Quad North. For the first time since 2008, No. 8 North Allegheny (4-3, 3-2) won't own at least a share of the conference title.
Three NA miscues led to 20 of Central Catholic's 27 first-half points. A snap between the feet of NA's punter left the Vikings a short field for their first touchdown. Two more fumbles came 90 seconds apart in the second quarter, and they also turned into Central scores.
“They were what switched the game,” said Central Catholic linebacker Niko Thorpe, who forced one of the fumbles. “Momentum can turn on a dime, and we definitely kept the momentum in our favor.”
Only a Week 9 visit from Butler remains on Central Catholic's conference schedule.
This was the second consecutive loss for North Allegheny. The Tigers hadn't had a two-game losing streak since 2006 losses to Woodland Hills (21-0) and Upper St. Clair (16-7).
The backfield tandem of Riley and Faloon was a solid fill-in for leading rusher Luigi Lista-Brinza, who has missed two games with an ankle injury. Faloon's touchdown runs covered 17, 2 and 1 yard. Riley had 26 carries, including a 50-yard run.
“We can throw the ball,” Faloon said, “but we don't even need to when we can run the ball like that.”
North Allegheny welcomed back injured rushers Josh Bergman and Sean Idowu, but neither found much room. The Tigers had negative-12 rushing yards on 36 carries, which included four sacks. Isaac Weaver led NA with 31 yards on six carries.
The Tigers were far from healthy. Quarterback Jeff Clemens, who injured his throwing-hand thumb last week, spent the second half on the sideline. A groin injury limited Pitt recruit Elijah Zeise, a wideout and defensive back.
“We didn't have some of our best guys, but that's the way it goes,” NA coach Art Walker said. “Everybody fights through injuries. I told them we've got to stick together. You can't point fingers or make excuses.”
Facing an unfamiliar role as underdog, North Allegheny was within two touchdowns until its second-quarter fumbles turned the tide.
A sack by Thorpe forced Cage Galupi to fumble, and Richie Ryan recovered at NA's 30-yard line. Four plays later, a 2-yard touchdown run by Faloon gave Central Catholic a 20-0 lead.
Two plays after the touchdown, NA fumbled again. A shotgun snap eluded Idowu, and Central's Bryan Glover recovered at NA's 6-yard line. A 2-yard touchdown run by J.J. Cosentino gave Central Catholic a 27-0 lead 2:56 before halftime.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.