North Catholic dominates Clarion to advance to title gameWritten by: Billy Splain on Sunday, December 8th, 2013
“HELMETS ON! SINGLE FILE!” yelled offensive lineman Josh Churchin (3 tackles for loss, 7 total) after his North Catholic Trojans had defeated the Clarion Bobcats 39-12 for the right to play for the single A state title next week in Hershey. And with that command the Trojans marched victoriously in line toward the locker room to celebrate their victory. A rather fitting tradition as the Trojans just spent 3 hours marching all over the Bobcats to the tune of nearly 400 yards while holding their opponent to a season low 174 yards of offense.
“I’ve said it all year, we had the best offensive line in single A across the state. Definitely the best this school has ever seen,” said Trojan Head Coach Bob Ravenstahl.
The Trojans set the tone early. Starting at their 46, the Trojans drove to the Bobcat 22 yard line thanks in part to a 22 yard run from junior QB PJ Fulmer. The drive didn’t produce any points as Fulmer was intercepted in the endzone by Cody Hurst but it set the tone for the day.
Clarion was unable to move the ball on their first drive and punted. That punt only went 13 yards to the 36 yard line and North Catholic had a chance to finish the drive they started. Fulmer carried the ball 4 times, the last a 1 yard scoring run. Michael Tarasovich hit the point after and the Trojans never looked back.
Clarion again failed to move the ball but this time had more success with punting, putting the ball at the Trojan 35. Jerome Turner was the star of this drive bursting free for 38 yards to the Bobcat 10. Two plays later Fulmer added another of his rushing touchdowns, this one from 3 yards out.
The Bobcats first half fortunes just kept getting worse as on their next possession North Catholic forced one of four Clarion turnovers, this one an interception by Timon Gribbin at the Clarion 42. Turner capped the drive with a 14 yard run and a 6 yard scoring dash. A fake on the point after by Gribbin (who tossed the ball to Jarred Fragapane) put the Trojans up by 22.
Clarion finally found the endzone with 7 minutes remaining in the 2nd period as it appeared John Katis had finally gotten his throwing game in gear. Katis found Cody Hearst twice on this drive for gains of 28 and 22 yards. Taylor Smith, who had taken over for an injured Damien Slike, finished the drive with a 6 yard run. The point after was no good keeping the score 22-6.
“Taylor did a nice job for us, but we really missed Damien Slike and Ian Corbett out there. You’re talking about 2400 yards of offense missing there. I’m not making excuses, hats off to them (Trojans) they played a great game” said Clarion Skipper Larry Wiser.
The Trojans capped the first half scoring on a Fulmer 5 yard run before a bizarre ending to the first half that saw 4 consecutive turnovers before the half ended.
Katis brought his Bobcats out and for at least the first drive of the second half it looked as though the Bobcats had found their groove. Katis passed his team down field with completing 6 throws, the last a 1 yard scoring toss to Tyler Allen. Again the point after failed.
North Catholic scored 2 more times, the first a 22 yard run by Turner and the second a 23 yard field goal. Turner had a game leading 180 yards rushing on 20 carries while Fulmer added 109 yards.
“I can’t take any of that credit” said Turner of his performance. “Those guys up front just kept opening the holes like they’ve been doing all year.”
North Catholic advances the the state title game on Friday, December 13 at 1 pm. The Trojans will face Old Forge who defeated Steelton 26-7.
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