5 things we learned in Week 2: In defensive stalemate, Central Catholic offense shows big-play potential |

5 things we learned in Week 2: In defensive stalemate, Central Catholic offense shows big-play potential

Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Central Catholic's Khalil Weathers (19) extends the ball towards the goalline during Central Catholic's game against North Allegheny at North Allegheny on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
West Allegheny head coach Bob Palko on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Aliquippa's MJ Devonshire catches a pass during the Quips' workout on Aug. 11, 2017.
Fox Chapel's Head Coach Tom Loughran works with Quarterback Nick Gizzo during the first practice at Fox Chapel High School.Monday August 7, 2017.
Pine-Richland receiver Raymond Falcone

Central Catholic and North Allegheny traditionally win with defense, but will either have the offense to keep up with WPIAL favorite Pine-Richland?

The two Northern Seven rivals combined for five turnovers, 13 punts and just three touchdowns as No. 2-ranked Central Catholic won 14-7 at Newman Stadium on Friday. No. 1 Pine-Richland has averaged 45.3 points this season.

Of the two, Central showed more balance and big-play potential with wideouts Cam Laconi, Corey Thomas, Gavin Thomson (72-yard TD catch) and Khalil Weathers, who had a weaving 35-yard reception to set up the winning touchdown.

“He bounced that thing out like Plinko and started moving around,” Central quarterback Troy Fisher said. “Props to Khalil for getting out and around like that, but those are big plays that we need.”

Central Catholic visits Pine-Richland in Week 5.

North Allegheny passed for only 7 yards but found some success behind senior tailback Turner White, who rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

“Turner was asked to step up this week and put some things on his shoulders,” NA coach Art Walker said. “I asked him multiple times during the week that he had to answer the call and be that spark, and he was. That’s now how we expect him to run all the time.”

Going for two in OT always a gutsy call

West Allegheny’s Bob Palko and Highlands’ Dom Girardi made similar decisions but with different results. The coach with eight WPIAL titles and the one whose Highlands career is just eight quarters old both went for two in overtime rather than kicking an extra point.

Against North Hills, West Allegheny’s Will Weber ran in the two-point conversion to win 29-28. The play was reminiscent of when Palko also successfully went for two in overtime last November in the WPIAL Class 5A final.

Against New Castle, the two-point pass from Highlands quarterback Seth Cohen failed and the Rams lost 48-47 in double overtime, spoiling Cohn’s remarkable 412-yard, seven-touchdown passing performance.

In all, there were four games in Week 2 decided by just one point.

Season ‘pointless’ for offenses facing Aliquippa

Aliquippa finally allowed a point in Friday night’s 30-10 victory over Beaver, but the Quips’ defense is still perfect. Beaver’s Tyler Wallace returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown and kicker Will Connelly added a 21-yard field goal.

Aliquippa shut out New Castle and Beaver Falls in the past two weeks, so no opposing offense has reached the end zone this season. How long can that last? Well, the Quips have matchups ahead with Clairton, ranked No. 1 in WPIAL Class A, and Central Valley, which is No. 2 in Class 3A.

They host undefeated Freeport (2-0) on Friday.

Fox Chapel, Loughran have reason to celebrate

In Year 3 at Fox Chapel, coach Tom Loughran now owns a signature win. Foxes quarterback Nick Gizzo scored on fourth down with 43 seconds left and Andrew Jeffrey added the extra-point kick in Friday night’s 22-21 victory over Woodland Hills at the Wolvarena.

Loughran won two state championships in his 32 years as South Park’s coach, but he arrived at Fox Chapel in 2015 intending to turn around a losing program that endured one-win seasons in 2010 and 2012. The Foxes won their final five games last season after starting 0-5.

A dozen touchdowns can add up quickly

One of the busiest players on California’s roster is Dustin Mock, the team’s kicker. Mock made 10 extra points on a night when his team scored 86 points with 12 touchdowns.

California defeated Avella, 86-13. The Class A team in the Tri-County South has scored 202 points through three weeks, an average of 67.3 per game.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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