CLARION - Serra Catholic rolled over its first 12 opponents this season but had struggled in its past two playoff games.
Friday night in the PIAA Class A semifinals at Clarion University's Memorial Stadium, Serra found its swagger.
Serra scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, had a big kickoff return by Cam Olsen and held on to defeat District 9 champion Kane, 48-21, advancing to the PIAA Class A championship game next Friday at Hersheypark Stadium. Serra (15-0) will play the winner of today's game between Bloomsburg and Steelton-Highspire.
Kane (14-1) had a tough time adjusting to Serra's speed from the start, especially the elusive Chris Loving, who rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback T.J. Heatherington, who rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
Serra outrushed Kane, 348-40, and the defense held Kane's Dustin Moran, who had rushed for 1,250 yards, to 25 yards on nine carries
"Early on, we were successful on the edge," Serra coach Rich Bowen said. "When they took that away, we went inside.
"We hadn't played well the past two games, but (Friday) we came out hitting on all cylinders."
Kane actually threatened first when Arie Paup returned the opening kickoff 56 yards to the Serra 12. But the Serra defense forced Kane to go backward, and the Eagles took over from their 23. Linebackers Ed Pieterzak and Kevin Smith combined on a sack on third down.
Serra scored on drives of 77, 81 and 53 yards to grab a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Running back Isaiah Jackson (18 carriers, 70 yards) capped the first drive with a 2-yard run, and Loving finished off the next two with runs of 1 and 46 yards.
"They're fast, and they deserve everything they did," Kane coach Jason Barner said. "I hope the win it all, then I'll sleep better. They're a very good football team."
Kane, which went backward on its first three possessions, finally put together a scoring drive following a Serra fumble. …