Central Catholic running back Damion Jones-Moore said the key to his success Friday night was his short-term memory.
But he will haunt Woodland Hills for months.
Less than a year after the Wolverines held the Vikings' top rusher to 28 yards rushing in the WPIAL quarterfinals, Jones-Moore stepped all over the Woodland Hills defense, rushing for 239 yards and three touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Vikings to a 24-7 win Friday at the Wolvarena.
"That actually motivated a lot, being that they held me back and they actually stopped me," Jones-Moore said. "It was a lot of motivation."
Jones-Moore and the Vikings watched tape of the Wolverines' 36-3 playoff win hours before Friday's game.
"It was tough, but ... it was last year," Jones-Moore said. "That's old. I've got to have short-term memory."
Jones-Moore, now a junior, eclipsed his 28-yard playoff performance on three separate runs Friday in the Vikings' victory in Big East Conference play.
Central Catholic (4-0, 2-0) outgained Woodland Hills, 332-159, but Vikings' coach Terry Totten said his team still has a lot to improve if it plans to make a deep playoff run. Central Catholic turned the ball over four times, including three turnovers in the second half while the Vikings clung to a seven-point lead.
Woodland Hills (1-3, 1-1), ranked No. 1 at the beginning of the season, is finding it difficult to replace most of its offensive skill players and a handful of talented defensive linemen as the Wolverines seek to defend their WPIAL championship.
"The kids are down," Woodland Hills coach George Novak said. "They're depressed."
Jones-Moore gave Central Catholic an early lead when he took a first-quarter draw play 34 yards for a touchdown. Jones-Moore was not touched as he outsprinted Woodland Hills' secondary, and Central Catholic took a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings failed to score after Jones-Moore's 71-yard second-quarter run gave Central Catholic first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Central Catholic's star back made up for it on the Vikings' next possession.
The Vikings went 23 yards in five plays, capped by Jones-Moore's 5-yard touchdown run on a stretch play toward the right pylon.
The Wolverines looked as if they were going to get that score back on their next possession. Woodland Hills mounted its most successful drive of the first half, marching the ball inside Central Catholic's 10-yard line. But Woodland Hills quarterback Jevonte' Pitts fumbled when he was sacked on first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, ending the Wolverine threat.
Central Catholic led, 14-0, at halftime. Jones-Moore had 132 yards rushing in the first half; the Wolverines' offense had 90 yards total in the first half.
On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Woodland Hills running back Lafayette Pitts scored on a 65-yard touchdown run, cutting Central Catholic's lead in half.
Woodland Hills had opportunities to get back in the game, but every Wolverines' possession after Lafayette Pitts' touchdown run ended either in a three-and-out or an interception. Jevonte' Pitts threw three interceptions, all in the fourth quarter.
Jones-Moore scored on a 66-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, and kicker Jon Murphy kicked a 32-yard field goal late in the game.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1722.