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Central Catholic prepares for St. Joseph's physical, skilled offense

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Central Catholic's Cody Troesch (21) brings down Woodland Hills' Art Thompkins during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.

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Central Catholic (15-0)

Playoff history The Vikings won state titles in 1988, 2004 and 2007.

Coach Terry Totten, a former assistant, has been head coach for nine seasons.

Leaders Passing: J.J. Cosentino, 40-86-765, 12 TDs; Rushing: Luigi Lista-Brinza, 220-1,604, 21 TDs; Receiving: Shafer Swann, 11-353, 4 TDs.

Starting offense

QB 16 J.J. Cosentino 6-5 220 sr.

RB 23 Luigi Lista-Brinza 5-10 187 sr.

FB 19 Devin Faloon 5-11 230 sr.

WR 3 Shafer Swann 6-2 195 sr.

WR 10 Cameron Sutherland 6-1 180 sr.

TE 88 Thomas Shanley 6-2 210 sr.

OT 53 Terrence Stanton 6-2 250 sr.

G 54 Dan O'Neill 6-2 265 sr.

C 77 Erin McCallister 6-1 255 jr.

G 58 Steve Wood 6-3 270 sr.

OT 59 Zach DeLuca 6-2 240 sr.

K 9 Mitchell MacZura 6-2 195 sr.

Starting defense

DE 8 Angelo Natter 6-3 235 sr.

DT 50 Richie Ryan 6-0 265 jr.

DT 44 Jordan Scarbrough 6-0 240 so.

DE 59 Zach DeLuca 6-2 240 sr.

OLB 21 Cody Troesch 5-10 190 sr.

ILB 4 Niko Thorpe 5-11 220 sr.

ILB 18 Cullen Buckley 6-2 210 jr.

OLB 30 Bryan Glover 6-3 203 jr.

CB 38 Joe Tindal 5-10 186 jr.

FS 5 John Petrishen 6-2 188 jr.

SS 2 Tre Tarpley 6-1 205 sr.

CB 24 Damar Hamlin 6-1 175 so.

St. Joseph's Prep (11-3)

Playoff history This is the first state final appearance for the Hawks.

Coach Gabe Infante has been head coach at St. Joseph's Prep for four seasons.

Leaders Passing: Chris Martin, 139-219-2,013, 24 TDs; Rushing: Olamide Zaccheaus, 119-855, 12 TDs; Receiving: John Reid, 37-615, 7 TDs.

Starting offense

QB 15 Chris Martin 5-10 185 sr.

RB 1 Olamide Zaccheaus 5-8 180 jr.

RB 26 Vince Moffett 5-10 185 sr.

RB 7 D'Andre Swift 5-7 175 fr.

WR 25 John Reid 5-10 180 jr.

WR 18 Jawan McAllister 5-10 170 sr.

T 75 Jon Daniel Runyon 6-4 255 jr.

G 56 Shane Davis 6-4 305 jr.

C 64 Ed Mooney 6-0 230 so.

G 53 Mark Ehrlich 6-1 235 jr.

T 74 Steve Robinson 6-4 250 sr.

K 14 Pat Walsh 6-0 175 sr.

Starting defense

DE 40 Jake Strain 6-3 235 jr.

DT 74 Steve Robinson 6-4 250 sr.

DT 58 Erich Hartman 6-2 225 jr.

DE 45 Joe DuMond 6-1 230 so.

LB 8 Shaun Harris 5-9 195 so.

LB 10 Ryan McNulty 6-2 190 sr.

LB 2 Tom Johnson 6-0 190 jr.

CB 25 John Reid 5-10 180 jr.

CB 5 Rob DiSanto 5-8 165 sr.

SS 41 Dillon DeIuliis 5-10 195 jr.

FS 26 Vince Moffett 5-10 185 sr.

Top high school sports
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

As Central Catholic and St. Joseph's Prep coaches studied video, the reaction was the same on both ends of the state.

“As a staff, we looked at each other Sunday night and just said, ‘Wow!'” said Central Catholic coach Terry Totten, whose Vikings face the Philadelphia Catholic League champion at 6 p.m. Saturday in the PIAA Class AAAA final at Hersheypark Stadium. “They have athletes. They're extremely well-coached and disciplined. They get after it from snap to whistle.

“I think you're going to see a fiercely played football game.”

The coaching staff in Philadelphia was just as complimentary of Central Catholic.

“Their defense is fantastic,” said Prep coach Gabe Infante, calling Central Catholic one of the best teams in the country.

“... They swarm. You don't get many second chances. If you manage to get by one, there's usually eight or nine other guys there. As a defensive guy, I appreciate watching great defenses. And they have a great defense, no doubt about that.”

Fittingly, this championship will match strengths: A well-balanced Prep offense and a stout Central defense. The Vikings have allowed 82 points in 15 games but haven't faced a team like this, Totten said.

St. Joseph's Prep (11-3) won the District 12 title with an offense that throws and runs.

“St. Joe's presents a whole new challenge,” Totten said. “They're a team that can mix it up. ... We're going to have to be on our toes.”

St. Joseph's Prep has four rushers with more than 70 carries and five receivers with at least 20 catches.

Quarterback Chris Martin pulls its all together. The senior has 2,013 passing yards and another 455 rushing. He has thrown 24 touchdowns and run for six.

A late-season leg injury cost Martin a couple games, but he returned with personal-best efforts in the PIAA quarterfinals and semifinals.

Combined, he was 24 of 42 for 478 yards with four touchdown passes.

A Johns Hopkins recruit, Infante credits Martin's composure and intelligence.

“They're able to move the ball around to four or five very skilled athletes,” Totten said, “and the quarterback makes it work for them. He makes great decisions.”

Martin has options. In the backfield, junior Olamide Zaccheaus and freshman D'Andre Swift have more than 100 carries and around 30 catches each. Zaccheaus has 1,242 total yards, and Swift has 983. Vince Moffett adds another 524 yards.

St. Joseph's Prep has six players with at least five touchdowns. Zaccheaus has 15, including a 32-yard run in a 37-21 semifinal victory over Neshaminy.

Junior wideout John Reid has 11 touchdowns, and Swift has eight.

“People always ask what's the hardest offense to defend?” Infante said. “I always say a balanced, well-executing offense. It could be any style of offense as long as it's balanced and executes well. We try to do that.

“We spread the ball around, keep everybody involved and try to keep defenses honest.”

It's one final challenge for a talented Central Catholic defense that earned its seventh shutout with a dominant 45-0 semifinal victory over Lower Dauphin last Friday.

“This is absolutely the best football team we'll see this year,” Totten said. “That's saying a lot when some of the Woodland Hills and North Alleghenys around here are pretty good year in and year out. But this is the best.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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