Sto-Rox fends off North Catholic
North Catholic rode do-it-all sophomore P.J. Fulmore to the cusp of its first WPIAL Class A championship appearance, but Lenny Williams and the Sto-Rox Vikings had a Heinz Field rematch on their minds.
Williams rushed for two touchdowns and passed for two more as No. 2 Sto-Rox edged upset-minded North Catholic, 34-20, in a WPIAL Semifinal at Dormont Stadium on Friday.
The victory pushed Sto-Rox to 11-1 and set up another championship showdown with powerhouse Clairton, which defeated the Vikings, 42-6, in last year's final. The Bears extended their nation-best winning streak to 59 by cruising past Neshannock, 37-7, in the other semifinal.
“We wanted to get back to Heinz Field,” Sto-Rox's Dan Bradley said. “We didn't give our best effort that day.”
The Vikings won despite another monster effort from Fulmore, who followed his three-touchdown quarterfinal performance with two more scores and 204 yards on 33 carries.
The sixth-ranked Trojans (9-3) made their share of mistakes, with a missed extra point and three interceptions, but Fulmore kept North Catholic in the game. The sophomore, who lined up in the wildcat position, at receiver and at quarterback, scored on second-half touchdown runs of 8 and 4 yards.
But the story was Williams, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 184 yards and rushed for 90 more on 18 carries.
The junior found Wendall Miller on a 10-yard touchdown pass before connecting with Ben Shackelford on a 73-yard bomb. His second half touchdown runs of 16 and 2 yards kept the Vikings in front for good.
“I don't win games on my own,” Williams said. “Everybody stepped up.”
Fulmore got the Trojans within two at 14-12 after his 8-yard score in the third quarter, but North Catholic's two-point conversion attempt failed.
“They were the better team tonight,” North Catholic's Bob Ravenstahl said. “Our youth hurt us a little bit. It is a learning experience.”
Brian Duermeyer is a freelance writer.