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Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic wins 1st WPIAL football championship

Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic team members celebrate with the trophy after their 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic team members celebrate with the trophy after their 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl gets doused as time runs down in the Trojans' 14-0 victory over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl gets doused as time runs down in the Trojans' 14-0 victory over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore leaps over a would-be tackler as Sto-Rox's Brandon Gary tries to wrap up. North Catholic defeated Sto-Rox, 14-0, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore leaps over a would-be tackler as Sto-Rox's Brandon Gary tries to wrap up. North Catholic defeated Sto-Rox, 14-0, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore looks to recover the ball he stripped from Damian Daneas of Sto-Rox in the fourth quarter of the WPIAL championship game. North Catholic defeated Sto-Rox, 14-0, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore looks to recover the ball he stripped from Damian Daneas of Sto-Rox in the fourth quarter of the WPIAL championship game. North Catholic defeated Sto-Rox, 14-0, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore looks for running room against the Sto-Rox defense during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013. North Catholic won, 14-0.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore looks for running room against the Sto-Rox defense during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013. North Catholic won, 14-0.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Ryan Kirby watches as Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams intercepts a pass late in the Trojans' 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Ryan Kirby watches as Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams intercepts a pass late in the Trojans' 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl hugs his father, North Catholic head coach Bob Ravenstahl, after the Trojans' 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl hugs his father, North Catholic head coach Bob Ravenstahl, after the Trojans' 14-0 win over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane gets a sack of Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams in a 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane gets a sack of Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams in a 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game Saturday, November 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Sto-Rox's Brendan Blair bowls over North Catholic's Bennan Sefick during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Sto-Rox's Brendan Blair bowls over North Catholic's Bennan Sefick during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane sacks Sto-Rox QB Lenny Williams during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane sacks Sto-Rox QB Lenny Williams during the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Jerome Turner scores a touchdown as he is brought down in the end zone by Sto-Rox's Amir Newring in a 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Jerome Turner scores a touchdown as he is brought down in the end zone by Sto-Rox's Amir Newring in a 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media - North Catholic's Mario Latronica picks up some yards as Sto-Rox's Amir Newring tries to make the tackle during the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Trib Total Media</em></div>North Catholic's Mario Latronica picks up some yards as Sto-Rox's Amir Newring tries to make the tackle during the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Joshua Churchin pressures Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams in the Trojans' 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Joshua Churchin pressures Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams in the Trojans' 14-0 win in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review - Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne misses a catch in a 14-0 loss to North Catholic in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Sidney Davis  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne misses a catch in a 14-0 loss to North Catholic in the WPIAL Class A football championship game at Heinz Field on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams stiff-arms North Catholic's Ryan Long during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams stiff-arms North Catholic's Ryan Long during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne shakes hands with North Catholic's Joshua Churchin after the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne shakes hands with North Catholic's Joshua Churchin after the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane celebrates after sacking Sto-Rox quarterback Lenny Williams during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Jarred Fragapane celebrates after sacking Sto-Rox quarterback Lenny Williams during the third quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Jerome Turner scores past Sto-Rox's Amair Newring during the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Jerome Turner scores past Sto-Rox's Amair Newring during the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic head coach Bob Ravenstahl gets doused by Timon Gibbin (11) as time runs down in the Trojans' 14-0 victory over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic head coach Bob Ravenstahl gets doused by Timon Gibbin (11) as time runs down in the Trojans' 14-0 victory over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore carries for a long gain past Sto-Rox's Jesse Mays during the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's P.J. Fulmore carries for a long gain past Sto-Rox's Jesse Mays during the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Catholic's Ryan Kirby (17) intercepts a pass intended for Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne during the second quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>North Catholic's Ryan Kirby (17) intercepts a pass intended for Sto-Rox's Mallory Claybourne during the second quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Heinz Field.

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Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 1:48 p.m.
 

The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic Trojans are celebrating a day 40 years in the making.

In its first-ever trip to the WPIAL Class A final since joining the conference in 1973, North Catholic (13-0) defeated top-seeded Sto-Rox, 14-0, on Saturday at Heinz Field.

“I'm proud of our whole team,” North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. “We've stuck together all year. We've had a lot of adversity, a lot of injury. I'm amazed at what these kids do every day, and it's a credit to them. They deserve it, and they honestly earned it. This is something that I'll always remember in my life, and I know they'll always remember, too.”

Sto-Rox (12-1) has lost three straight title games, falling to Clairton the past two seasons.

The North Catholic defense handed Sto-Rox its first shutout since Sept. 9, 2005, and held senior quarterback Lenny Williams, the WPIAL's all-time leading passer, to 203 yards on 16-of-26 passing with an interception.

“Hit him, that's it,” said NC senior lineman Ryan Long, who had two of the team's six sacks. “Put pressure on him. Keep him in the pocket. Probably the same thing every defensive coordinator would tell his team playing a team like that.”

North Catholic forced Williams into two first-half turnovers — an interception by senior captain Ryan Kirby and a fumble forced by senior Jarred Fragapane and recovered by Long.

“We had a lot of mistakes that I should have handled. It's just too many,” Williams said. “It seems like every time we had some momentum, something set us back.”

Sto-Rox lost leading receiver, Mallory Claybourne, when he separated his right shoulder in the first quarter. The Vikings were crippled even further by committing 15 penalties for 99 yards.

“We did have some mistakes lining up,” Sto-Rox coach Dan Bradley said. “We had some personnel issues once some injuries started, and unfortunately we didn't play with enough discipline like we have for most of the season.”

North Catholic has fought through plenty of injuries as well. Fulmore stepped into the quarterback role when starter Adam Sharlow went down with an injury in October.

“We had people go down all through the season,” North Catholic junior quarterback P.J. Fulmore said. “We had people hurt through the lineup every game and people just step up and step up. We faced so much adversity and we came out victorious.”

Despite the Trojans' stifling defense, Sto-Rox trailed by just a touchdown entering the fourth quarter.

Leading, 7-0, Fulmore took the second play of the final quarter 42 yards on a designed draw on third-and-14 from the Trojans' 26. The drive finished with five straight rushes by junior running back Jerome Turner, capped by a 17-yarder that gave North Catholic a 14-0 lead with less than nine minutes to play.

Fulmore, who scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter, finished with 83 yards rushing on 26 carries. Turner added 64 yards on 19 carries.

North Catholic will play District 5 champion Tussey Mountain (11-2) in the PIAA quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Hampton's Fridley Field.

Gary Horvath is staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at ghorvath@tribweb.com.

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