Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic wins PIAA Class A titleWritten by: Billy Splain on Saturday, December 14th, 2013
“Well, we started our season we had to go for two to win that game so I think I would have let my kids down if I didn’t go for two and the win. I just felt confident and I don’t think they expected anything else. I went over and gave my kicker a big hug and said Mike (Tarasovich) I gotta go for it and he says “coach, I understand ” said C.W.N.C head coach Bob Ravenstahl. And with that decision coach Ravenstahl sent his offense back onto the field to attempt the most important 2 point play in his alma mater’s history. Quarterback P.J. Fulmore called his own number and followed the biggest guy he could find. “It seemed like it took forever” said the Junior qb. But it didn’t, it only took a few seconds for Fulmore to get into the end zone and MAYBE one second for him to throw off his helmet and sprint through the other end. And with that run the Trojans completed their very improbable season by winning the Class A State Championship 15-14 over Old Forge in overtime. “They were just one point, one play better than us today. It really breaks my heart for these kids” said Blue Devils coach Mike Shuback.
This was definitely a game fought between the lines, and a game that showcased three warriors with huge hearts and determination. Fulmore and Blue Devil’s running back’s Brandon Yescavage and Shane Shuback took turns throwing their bodies into the opposing defensive lines just trying to lead their teams down field. It was an epic battle.
Fulmore started the show running the ball 8 times on the opening drive. C.W. got to the Blue Devil 31 but the drive stalled and Old Forge took over with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter. The Blue Devils drove to the Trojan 37 but on 4th and 2 Yescavage was stuffed for no gain. That was as close to scoring either team would come until the last drive of the first half.
The Blue Devils final drive benefited for a bad punt and started they last drive of the half at the Trojan 39. ItÂ took 8 plays to go 21 yards to the 20. On 4th and 2 coach Shuback reached deep into his bag of tricks. Shane Shuback line up in the wildcat, pitched the ball to qb Jake Manetti. Manetti took three steps to the right, turned and threw the ball back to a wide open Shuback who finished the play in the end zone and with just 28 seconds remaining in the half the Blue Devils had a 7-0 lead.
The second half played out just as the first half, with both teams hammering at each other, line versus line, ball carriers battling, legs churning in long, time consuming drives. Old Forge started off the second half and drove on the legs of Shuback from their 33 all the way to the Trojan 14 but a 4th down pass fell incomplete.
Now it was Fulmore’s turn. His first carry of the drive was a burst up the middle for 11 yards. Ten carries later he had his team at the Old Forge 37 but it was 4th down and 7 to go. “Well, we knew we had some momentum and P.J., that kids just thrives on moments like that. He loves to carry the ball” said Ravenstahl of the next play. Fulmore took the snap, and in mirror fashion of what the Blue Devils ran on their first scoring play, tossed the ball to Ryan Kirby who then tossed it back to Fulmore. P.J. then scrambled 15 yards in a determined, tackle evading run for a first down. Jerome Turner then got a rare opportunity and finished the drive from 16 yards out. “We didn’t plan to not use Turner (who had over 1000 yards rushing this year) but we just took what they were giving us” said Ravenstahl. “That play we just felt like they were expecting P.J. to carry the ball”. With the kick, we had a 7-7 tie.
Old Forge had one more crack to win the game. With 4 seconds remaining the Blue Devils attempted a 29 yard field goal but the kick was short sending the game into overtime.
The Blue Devils started the overtime and it took just two plays. Yescavage carried in from 5 yards out and the point after made it 14-7. “We just came up a little short” said Shane Shuback.
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