DUBOIS, Pa. — Josh Churchin, Ryan Long, Nick Nyman, Dylan Grieco, Joe Sadler and Ronnie Meder aren’t the names you often hear for Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic.
But those guys are the biggest reason the Trojans are playing for a PIAA championship after a 39-12 win against Clarion in the Class A semifinals Saturday at Mansell Stadium.
Churchin, Long, Nyman, Grieco, Sadler and Meder — the Trojans’ five offensive lineman and tight end — helped North Catholic (15-0) run for 376 yards and six touchdowns while scoring more points against the District 9 champions than anyone had this season.
“I’ve been saying all year it’s the best offensive line in [Class] A football,” North Catholic coach Bob Ravenstahl said. “They might be the best offensive line we’ve had at North Catholic to be honest with you. A lot of those kids have been playing since their sophomore year. They’ve worked hard at it.”
North Catholic jumped all over Clarion (14-1), which was playing without 1,200-yard rusher Ian Corbett and — in the second half — without 1,800-yard rusher Damien Slike because of injuries, by scoring the game’s first 22 points on its way to a 29-6 halftime lead.
P.J. Fulmore, who ran for 112 yards, scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards in the first quarter before Jerome Turner, who had a game-high 178 rushing yards, made it 22-0 with a 6-yard touchdown early in the second.
“That was our game plan, to run the ball and control the clock,” Ravenstahl said.
Clarion got on the board when John Katis, who was intercepted three times after throwing one this season, hit Slike with a 7-yard touchdown pass to cut the Trojans’ lead to 22-6.
Fulmore answered Slike’s score with a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:57 left in the half to make it 29-7.
Clarion didn’t quit, scoring on its opening drive of the second half on Tyler Allen’s 1-yard receiving score from Katis, who finished with 162 yards passing. But then Turner scored on a 22-yard run and Mike Trarsovich kicked a 23-yard field goal.
North Catholic will play Old Forge (14-1) in the PIAA title game at 1 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.
“We are taking it one game at a time,” Ravenstahl said. “We are excited to go to Hershey.”