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WPIAL Class A semifinals preview: Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic vs. Neshannock

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore cuts through the Avonworth defense on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, at Avonworth High School.


P.J. Fulmore

North Catholic

QB, Jr.

5-foot-9, 180 pounds

The fill-in quarterback has recovered from an ankle injury without missing a step. He has rushed for 629 yards in his abbreviated season and thrown for 115 since taking over for injured starting quarterback Adam Sharlow on Oct. 18.

how they got here

NC: Beat No. 15 Western Beaver, 24-0, in the first round; beat No. 7 Avonworth, 14-7, in the quarterfinals.

N: Beat No. 11 Brentwood, 40-9, in the first round; beat No. 3 Monessen, 35-6, in the quarterfinals.

statistical leaders

NC: Passing: Adam Sharlow, 58-105-877, 8 TDs; Rushing: Jerome Turner, 82-735, 17 TDs; Receiving: Ronnie Meder, 18-321, 5 TDs.

N: Passing: Ernie Burkes, 90-163-1,054, 16 TDs; Rushing: Elijah Owens, 163-1,460, 12 TDs; Receiving: Jimmy Medure, 20-238, 2 TDs.

by the numbers

NC: All-time: 385-294-32

Playoff appearances: 17

Last title: none

N: All-time: 223-302-15

Playoff appearances: 7

Last title: none


North Catholic, 14-13.

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 10:09 p.m.

class A Semifinals

No. 2 Cardinal Wuerl N. Catholic (11-0) vs. No. 6 Neshannock (9-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Mars

North Catholic and Neshannock met Oct. 18 in a nonconference matchup, and the Trojans held off a late rally for a 21-14 victory.

It marked the last time Adam Sharlow lined up under center for the Trojans before suffering a season-ending injury. That forced junior blue chip player P.J. Fulmore from running back to quarterback, while Jerome Turner became the featured running back.

It was late in the first matchup that Sharlow went down and Fulmore stepped in at quarterback, giving the Lancers a preview of what they will see come Friday.

“As we know, P.J. is your classic running back,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio said. “So they're more of a wildcat. They're still a very potent offense.”

The first matchup was Fulmore's first game back after missing four games with an ankle injury. He said he is now at full strength and mentally sharp as well.

“Last time I just got thrown in during the middle of the game,” Fulmore said. “I'll get to practice all week against their defense as quarterback, so it'll be a lot different.”

Even though he can't play, Sharlow still has an impact on the game. Fulmore credits Sharlow for giving him a crash course in playing quarterback in the system.

The Lancers feature an accomplished running game as well. QB Ernie Burkes and RB Elijah Owens each have gone over 1,000 yards. The Trojans are tough in the trenches, setting up a battle at the point of attack.

“The best part about our defense is we stick together,” North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. “We'll give up some yards and we bend a little bit but don't break. Defense has really been a strong point for us.”

— Ed Phillipps

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