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Central Catholic and Woodland Hills may be different, but both win

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Woodland Hills' Art Thompkins runs for a 29-yard touchdown against Pine-Richland during a WPIAL AAAA first-round game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Wolvarena.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Woodland Hills' Art Thompkins runs for a 29-yard touchdown against Pine-Richland during a WPIAL AAAA first-round game Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Wolvarena.
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For the Daily News - Woodland Hills senior center Dan Gibson practices Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, during training camp.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Ronald Vezzani Jr.  |  For the Daily News</em></div>Woodland Hills senior center Dan Gibson practices Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, during training camp.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Central Catholic's Riley Redman breaks through the North Allegheny defense during the game at Highmark Stadium on the South Side on Friday October 11, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Central Catholic's Riley Redman breaks through the North Allegheny defense during the game at Highmark Stadium on the South Side on Friday October 11, 2013.

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matchupto watchCentral DEs Zach DeLuca/Angelo Natter vs. WH RT Dan GibsonMATCHUP: This very easily could be Central Catholic DE Angelo Natter vs. Gibson, depending on matchups. But this much is clear: DeLuca and Natter, if not given the proper amount of attention, can make things miserable for an opposing offense. They did so last week during a 49-10 rout of Penn-Trafford, holding Tom Stinelli and Devin Austin to 19 yards on 21 carries. Eighteen plays went for negative yards. Gibson has been one of the Wolverines' best linemen and must limit whoever lines up on his side.

···

DeLUCA/NATTER: DeLuca's 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, Natter's 6-3, 235. The former has a ton of power and played DT last season. He also wrestles; few of those guys struggle to use their hands or take advantage of body position. Natter is relentless in pursuit.

···

GIBSON: At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, the junior matches up just fine size-wise. He also has the speed and agility to handle DeLuca and Natter, who will mix power with speed and creativity when trying to get to Woodland Hills quarterback Harry Randall.

— Jason Mackey

Top high school sports
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 10:18 p.m.
 

Central Catholic senior Luigi Lista-Brinza, despite missing the final four games of the regular season, will be there.

Same for Woodland Hills sophomore Miles Sanders, who sat out the first two playoff rounds.

But outside of a pair of 1,000-yard tailbacks who've returned from ankle injuries, Central Catholic and Woodland Hills — who square off for the WPIAL Class AAAA title at 2 p.m. Saturday — don't have much in common.

Well, besides winning.

“It's going to be interesting,” Central Catholic quarterback J.J. Cosentino said. “We play two different styles of ball.”

Central Catholic (12-0) would rather possess it, with Cosentino feeding Lista-Brinza and Riley Redman, both 1,000-yard rushers.

Fullback Devin Faloon is as big a high school fullback (5-11, 230) as you'll see, and Cosentino, at 6-5, 220 pounds, typifies a pro-style quarterback.

“They're not flashy,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. “They're a ball-control offense.”

Or, put another way, the opposite of the score-fast Wolverines.

Quarterback Harry Randall has scored 26 touchdowns, and rarely do they come at the end of a methodical, 10-play drive. Sanders, Art Thompkins and Trevon Mathis all have enough speed to make sure that no lead is safe.

“We're definitely going to have to keep those people bottled up for us to have a chance,” Vikings coach Terry Totten said.

Central Catholic's defense has allowed just 68 points, 41 of them coming during blowout, playoff wins and a 27-21 victory over Gateway in the quarterfinals.

Woodland Hills (10-2) faces a tough assignment in stopping Lista-Brinza and Redman, and the Wolverines can't stack the box for fear that Cosentino goes deep to Shafer Swann or Cam Sutherland.

“They don't have any weaknesses,” Novak said. “We have to try and possess the ball more than them and figure out a way to move the ball against their defense.”

That starts with Sanders, who has 1,076 yards and 13 touchdowns. If Woodland Hills can, as Novak said, mimic Central Catholic, that may be the Wolverines' best shot at avoiding a second consecutive title game loss and a third in the past four years.

“Last year we went down there and lost, but we've kept practicing hard and working as a team,” Woodland Hills linebacker Daechaud Ausbrooks said. “We feel like we can win it. It's going to be a good game.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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