WPIAL Class AAA notebook
Thomas Jefferson's offense produced 37 points per game this season, but it was Jaguars defense that carried the team Friday in the WPIAL Class AAA title game. Thomas Jefferson stopped Blackhawk for six tackles for losses, limited the Cougars to 5 of 12 on third downs and intercepted three passes.
Blackhawk fullback Matt Parker needed to keep his concentration to make a key second-quarter reception. Parker had come out of the backfield only to see a pass from Brian Sweeney partially blocked by Jaguars defensive end Chris Drager. Parker had to not only pick up the flight of the ball, but come back toward the line to make the catch. The reception went for just 5 yards, but it kept alive a drive that led to a Cougars' field goal.
Time stoppages kept both teams from getting into much of a rhythm yesterday. It didn't hurt Thomas Jefferson's big-play offense as much as Blackhawk. But overall, there were a combined total of 10 penalties, 14 incomplete passes and eight television time outs.
Thomas Jefferson's victory marked the school's third WPIAL football title. The Jaguars defeated Aliquippa in 1980 and West Mifflin in 2004. TJ lost to Kiski Area in 1971, Pine-Richalnd in 2003 and Franklin Regional last year.
North Hills coach Jack McCurry and members of his 1987 team, ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today, presented the championship and runner-up trophies to the teams after the game. McCurry was once a standout player, scoring more than 20 touchdowns at Richland High School in the mid-1960s.
3 - Venues in which Blackhawk has played WPIAL title games -- Pitt Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field.
1,739 - Combined yards recorded by Thomas Jefferson quarterback Dom DiCicco (834 rushing and 905 passing) over 13 games.
18 - Touchdowns scored by Jaguars running backs Brian Baldrige and Dan Giegerich each this season.