Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Catholic Football Semifinal Loss Haunts Vikings Central Catholic

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Catholic Football Semifinal Loss Haunts Vikings Central Catholic

Article excerpt

Central Catholic football coach Terry Totten was feeling good about his team's chances in the fourth quarter of Friday night's Class AAAA semifinal against Upper St. Clair.

His Vikings held a one-point lead early in the final quarter.

Then an Upper St. Clair reserve quarterback wrecked Central Catholic's season.

Pete Coughlin, inserted into the starting lineup when starter Dakota Conwell was unable to suit up for the Panthers because of an ankle injury suffered a week earlier against Erie McDowell, began a run that reminded Upper St. Clair coach Jim Render of a 79-yard Rose Bowl run by O.J. Simpson in 1969 and sickened Totten.

"We had that kid in the backfield for a 10-yard loss," Totten said. "He was the replacement quarterback, and we must have missed three or four tackles. At that point, it started to slip away, and I got the feeling it wasn't going to be our night."

Coughlin finished his run 73 yards from where it started in an end zone at Chartiers Valley High School, and Upper St. Clair -- picked by virtually no one to upset Central Catholic -- had done just that, winning 28-14 and ending the Vikings' season at 11-1.

It was the second year in a row that Central took an 11-0 record into the WPIAL semifinals, but came away disappointed.

The Panthers (11-1) meet the only team to beat them this season, North Allegheny, in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday at Heinz Field.

"Coach Render had a great gameplan," Totten said. "They are a very good football team, and we had some trouble with their size up front. Coughlin did a great job, and you have to give credit where it's due. It was that kid's night."

Totten said the Vikings had much to prove when some media outlets -- including the Post-Gazette -- had proclaimed Central Catholic as the best in Pennsylvania among Class AAAA schools. …

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