Central Catholic falls to St. Joseph's Prep in PIAA AAAA title game
HERSHEY — With its quarterback injured and its defense wounded, Central Catholic couldn't muster the fourth-quarter effort needed Sunday night in a 35-10 loss to Philadelphia's St. Joseph's Prep in the PIAA Class AAAA championship at Hersheypark Stadium.
For the Vikings, it was an unfamiliar dilemma.
Central Catholic entered the fourth quarter trailing 14-10 and without quarterback J.J. Cosentino, who sprained his left ankle. The situation worsened when St. Joseph's Joe DuMond caught a 14-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. A personal foul on linebacker Niko Thorpe extended the drive.
The 35-yard touchdown run by De'Andre Swift and a 16-yarder by Vince Moffett that followed turned the score lopsided.
“They're known for a couple big plays, and when it happened, it was at crucial times,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. “We got a bad penalty on this sideline — I'm not saying it was the wrong call; it was the wrong thing to do by our guy — and momentum swings like that got them to build a lead.”
The Vikings defense allowed just 82 points in its first 15 games, with seven shutouts. Only once all season had it allowed more than two touchdowns.
“We're the heart and soul of our team,” Thorpe said of a defense that lost tackle Richie Ryan and cornerback Joe Tindal. “And we didn't play our best football, by any means.”
Central Catholic (15-1) was seeking its fourth state title and first since 2007.
This was the first PIAA final for St. Joseph's (12-3), the Philadelphia Catholic League champion.
St. Joseph's senior quarterback Chris Martin completed 13 of 21 passes for 192 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
“(Martin is) the MVP of our team, he's the MVP of our league and, as far as I'm concerned, he's the best quarterback in Pennsylvania,” St. Joseph's coach Gabe Infante said.
St. Joseph's, which has won with balance, had 125 rushing yards.
Senior tailback Luigi Lista-Brinza led Central Catholic with 129 yards on 22 carries, and junior Riley Redman added 56 yards on nine attempts.
Cosentino, a Florida State recruit, injured his ankle with 7:33 left in the third quarter when tackled low while scrambling. Graham Adomitis, who replaced Cosentino at quarterback, completed 2 of 5 passes for 42 yards.
“It was tough to leave my team,” said Cosentino, who completed just 1 of 4 passes for 7 yards but scored Central Catholic's only touchdown with a 1-yard run in the first quarter.