North Catholic defense mirroring past champs

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

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The domination of Central Catholic's defense has been well-documented. But the other WPIAL Catholic school still in the PIAA playoffs has been doing a pretty good stone-wall imitation as well.

Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's defense has been tremendous. The Trojans have allowed only 28 points in five postseason games, which compares favorably with the past two Clairton teams that won PIAA titles. Last year's Clairton team gave up 34 points in the first five preseason games and the 2011 Clairton team allowed 33 in the first five playoff games.

North Catholic's defense has been particularly strong against the run. Although Tussey Mountain rushed for 164 yards against North Catholic in the PIAA playoffs Friday night, 66 of those came on one play.

In five postseason games, North Catholic is allowing only 96 yards a game rushing.

Looking ahead

Central Catholic, South Fayette and North Catholic are the three WPIAL teams that will play in the semifinals this weekend. The PIAA announced semifinal sites Sunday.

Central Catholic will play Lower Dauphin (Harrisburg area) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona. South Fayette will play Hickory at 1 p.m. Saturday at Slippery Rock University. North Catholic will play Clarion at 7 p.m. Friday at DuBois High School.

Central Catholic will play a Lower Dauphin team that relies heavily on 5-foot-11, 180-pound quarterback Troy Spencer. He doesn't throw much (28 of 51 for 373 yards on the season), but Spencer has rushed for 1,579 yards on 257 attempts.

South Fayette will face a talented dual-threat quarterback. Hickory's Matt Voytik is a 6-1, 180-pound senior who has rushed for 701 yards on 114 carries and also completed 111 of 180 passes for 1,930 yards. Voytik is the cousin of Pitt backup quarterback Chad Voytik.

North Catholic won a PIAA playoff game for the first time this past Friday, and will play a Clarion team that also won a PIAA game for the first time with a victory Saturday against Lakeview. Clarion has two 1,000-yard rushers and a quarterback who has thrown for more than 2,000 yards.

Running back Damien Slike has 1,869 yards on 146 carries (12.8 average) and Ian Corbett has 1,247 on 83 attempts (15.0 average). Quarterback John Katis has completed 96 of 149 passes for 2,083 yards.

The last time

Erie Cathedral Prep's 28-0 victory against West Allegheny was certainly unusual.

It was the first time a WPIAL team was shut out in a PIAA game since Rochester lost to Southern Columbia, 35-0, in the PIAA Class A final in 2004. The previous time a WPIAL team was shut out in the PIAA AAA playoffs was 1998 when Moon was defeated, 10-0, by Allentown Central Catholic.

Brumbaugh's record numbers

South Fayette junior quarterback Brett Brumbaugh threw for 340 yards in Saturday's PIAA Class AA victory against Karns City. That was only 40 yards away from the PIAA Class AA playoff record of 380, which was set, coincidentally, by Brumbaugh's oldest brother, Christian, three years ago against Brockway.

Brett Brumbaugh is nearing other records. He now has 3,436 yards passing this season, which is 290 yards away from the WPIAL single-season record of 3,726, also held by his brother, Christian.

Brett now has 6,865 career yards passing and it seems he has a good chance to break the WPIAL record for passing yardage next season. Sto-Rox's Lenny Williams holds the record of 8,508 yards. Williams finished his career at Sto-Rox last week.

Brett Brumbaugh is now fourth on the WPIAL all-time passing list. After Williams, Christian Brumbaugh is second with 7,162 yards and Montour's Dillon Buechel third at 6,899 yards.

Dedicated to shooting victims

The Newtown High School team in Connecticut dedicated its season to the shooting victims last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School (Sandy Hook is part of the Newtown School District). Newtown has made it a memorable season.

Newtown is 12-0 and plays in the Connecticut state playoffs Tuesday. Newtown hopes to advance to the state championship game either Dec. 13 or 14.

All season, Newtown's players have worn a green logo on their helmet with the number 26 on it, in memory of the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook in a shooting in December 2012.

For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and @mwhiteburgh


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