North Catholic shuts out Bishop Canevin
North Catholic running back P.J. Fulmore might have been playing in his first WPIAL playoff game against Bishop Canevin, but he looked like a veteran.
The sophomore finished with 227 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries as the Trojans topped the Crusaders, 21-0.
“It was great going out there and getting the win,” Fulmore said. “I just got behind our linemen and behind our fullbacks and got yards. It showed how strong we were up front.”
After North Catholic (8-2) went three-and-out on its first possession, momentum swung in its favor as Adam Sharlow intercepted Bishop Canevin's Nico DiPaolo. The turnover led to a 41-yard touchdown run by Fulmore to give the Eastern Conference champions a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Neither squad scored the remainder of the first half, but North Catholic controlled the tempo. The Trojans ran 23 plays compared to the Crusaders' five and drained nearly 10 minutes off the clock in the second quarter.
North Catholic had 184 yards to Bishop Canevin's 47 in the first half, with Fulmore accounting for 124 of the Trojans' yards.
The Trojans recovered a fumble on a bad snap on the second play of Bishop Canevin's series after halftime. Fulmore pounded the ball into the end zone five plays and 28 yards later.
“We were only down seven at halftime after not playing well,” Bishop Canevin coach Bob Jacoby said. “We thought we could get something going coming out of halftime, but the fumble ended it real quick.”
Bishop Canevin (6-4) had its most productive drive of the game on the next series, going 43 yards to the North Catholic 31. But an incomplete pass on fourth down ended the possession.
North Catholic drained seven minutes off the clock on the next drive as Fulmore used a 4-yard run to score out of a wildcat formation.
“It worked well all season,” North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. “We knew how their defense is and knew their middle linebacker (Mike Dunn) is a heck of a ballplayer. But they didn't seem to have an answer for it. I would say it was pretty successful. We should have had more than seven at halftime, but we got the win.”
The Trojans' defense held Bishop Canevin to fewer than 100 yards of offense while recording four sacks and three turnovers.
“We couldn't get anything going,” Jacoby said. “They jammed the line of scrimmage, which stopped everything in the running game, and we just weren't sharp in the passing game.”
It was a tough ending for the Crusaders, who had a 4-0 start before losing four of their next six games.
The win moved North Catholic into the Class A quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.