For as long as most people can remember, the Central Catholic offensive game plan has seemed pretty simple -- run, run, run again. If all else fails, run some more.
Friday night at Highmark Stadium, the strategy remained the same and, with the help of some gaffes from its opponent, so did its success.
With three touchdowns set up by North Allegheny turnovers, the Vikings raced to a 27-0 lead by halftime, a score that held up the rest of the way. With the win they moved closer to one of their primary goals as the victory nearly assured them of the Northern Eight Conference regular-season championship.
Central Catholic, the only undefeated team in the conference, has one league game left, and that is against a Butler team near the bottom of the standings.
Devin Faloon rushed for three of Central Catholic's four touchdowns while Riley Redman ran for a game-high 187 yards on 26 carries. As a team, the Vikings (7-0) rushed for 279 yards while limiting the Tigers to minus-12.
With the loss, North Allegheny dropped consecutive games in a season for the first time since 2006, assuring the Tigers of their first season with three or more losses since 2008. The shutout was the first against North Allegheny since 2006.
The 2013 season was expected to be something of a transition year for the Tigers, or as much of one as there can be with the kind of enrollment and resources North Allegheny has. Facing the No. 2 team in the Post-Gazette's Class AAAA rankings, it showed.
The Tigers turned the ball over three times in the first half, all on fumbles, which led to 20 Central Catholic points after the Vikings were given a short field each time.
"I'm sick about the turnovers," Walker said. "It just seems like the last few weeks, that's been us -- the Seneca [Valley] loss, the Gateway loss, this loss was a lot of turnovers that just led to bad things.
"You can't give good football teams more touches than they might think they're going to get on a short field. You're just not going to have a good outcome."
North Allegheny fumbled the ball six times and lost three of them. The first came after a low snap on a punt that gave Central Catholic the ball at the North Allegheny 36 and paved the way for a 17-yard touchdown run from Faloon that put the Vikings up, 6-0, about six minutes into the game.
Faloon added another touchdown to extend the lead to 13-0 six seconds into the second quarter. In the final four minutes of the half, Central Catholic got two short touchdown runs off of Tigers fumbles in their own territory.
As it has for much of the season, the Vikings defense was stout, recording its fourth shutout in seven games and lowering its points-allowed-per-game total to 3.9.
"David Fleming, our defensive coordinator, I don't think he slept six hours this week," Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. "He knew everything they wanted to do, and the kids responded to him."
Redman, called upon after star running back Luigi Lista-Brinza went down with an injury, continued to impress, increasing his rushing total from the past five games to 585 yards.
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG. First Published October 11, 2013 8:06 PM