Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Shocking Finish for Central

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

A Shocking Finish for Central

Article excerpt

Central Catholic ran into Upper St. Clair in last year's WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs and was busy packing away its equipment for the season the following Monday morning. The Panthers handed the Vikings their only loss last year, 28-14, in the semifinals to put the wraps on an 11-1 campaign.

Nobody, however, anticipated the carnage that took place Friday night in a rematch of that game.

The Vikings opened the season fourth in the Post-Gazette's WPIAL Class AAAA rankings and did little to disappoint. Central Catholic only allowed three points through its first four games before falling to Seneca Valley, 34-7, in the fifth week of the season in a Northern Eight Conference showdown.

A 28-0 hiccup against top-ranked North Allegheny two weeks later was erased with consecutive lopsided shutout victories to close the regular season, getting the Vikings back on track to start the postseason.

Central Catholic held off Penn-Trafford in the first round of the playoffs, 30-27, behind leading rusher Luigi Lista-Brinza. Lista- Brinza, a junior, carried 27 times for 168 yards to lead the No. 11- seeded Vikings to the upset of the No. 6 Warriors.

Upper St. Clair, meanwhile, was building momentum of its own.

The Panthers, co-champions with Mt. Lebanon in the Southeastern Conference, lost only once in the regular season, 24-17, to Bethel Park Oct. 12. In the first round of the playoffs, the No. 3 Panthers took it to Kiski Area, 49-0, setting the stage for a battle against Central Catholic Friday night.

It was anything but a battle.

Central Catholic was competing in the WPIAL postseason for the 19th time and was handed its worst playoff loss ever, 38-0. Upper St. Clair (10-1) held the Vikings to just six first downs and 97 total yards and caused four turnovers, all of which resulted in points.

The Vikings (8-3) had an opportunity to avoid the shutout but had a 39-yard field-goal attempt by Mitch MacZura blocked late in the second quarter.

Lista-Brinza was held to 68 yards on 14 carries and finished the season with 960 yards on 155 carries. He will return next season, along with junior quarterback J.J. Cosentino and leading receiver Shafer Swann, also a junior. …

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