Lucas, Cathedral Prep run past South Fayette in PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals
ERIE — South Fayette put together an impressive performance last week to get back on top of the WPIAL.
The Lions, however, had no answer for Division I recruit Billy Lucas on Friday.
Lucas ran for 342 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries as he wore down the South Fayette defense in a 42-10 Cathedral Prep win in the PIAA Class 4A football quarterfinals at Veterans Stadium.
“He’s a stud. He’s a good football player that proved why he’s got some Division I offers,” said South Fayette coach Joe Rossi about Lucas. “Even with a bad hamstring, he’s a tremendous talent.”
Prep (11-3) moves on to the PIAA semifinals next week against District 3 champion Bishop McDevitt, while South Fayette ends the season 12-2.
The Lions’ potent passing attack was on display in the first quarter as South Fayette drove 44 yards on eight plays to start the game before having to punt and finished its third drive with a 50-yard touchdown catch by standout RayQuin Glover.
Glover had 10 catches for 123 yards in the first half but had just one catch the rest of the game.
Glover’s touchdown catch brought the Lions within one score at 14-7 after Prep quarterback Regan Schleicher had a 2-yard touchdown run and Joey Scarabino scored on a 36-yard touchdown catch which he was taken to the ground after about 20 yards but got back up and scored when he realized he landed on a South Fayette player and was never down.
After Lucas broke loose on a 35-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7, the Lions continued their short passing attack to go 53 yards on 12 plays. Ryan Coe capped the drive with a 33-yard field goal.
Glover then nearly changed the momentum of the game on Prep’s first play of the ensuing drive. He stepped in front of a screen pass, but Skyler Neely wrestled it away from him for an incomplete pass.
Prep ended up driving down to the 2-yard line before a Lucas fumble ended the drive and sent the Ramblers into the locker room at halftime ahead 21-10.
“We had a chance at an interception, and RayQuin had it in his hands,” Rossi said. “He could have maybe made it 21-17 after we kicked the field goal, but their kid made a nice play on it. They came out at halftime and ran it down our throat.”
Lucas went back to work in the second half with a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter before a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth to put the game away.
With Lucas running hard, the Prep defense held down South Fayette quarterback Jamie Diven with a combination of different blitzes and coverages.
“Our defensive coordinator had an unbelievable gameplan,” said Prep coach Mike Mischler, who picked up his 200th career win. “I thought South Fayette looked confused at times, and we did a really nice job of mixing our coverages. Their quarterback is phenomenal, and he is somebody that can pick you apart if you don’t mix up your presnap reads. We had all kinds of different looks and put pressure on him.”
Diven was sacked three times and had to throw the ball before his receivers could finish their routes as the Ramblers continued to send different blitzers throughout the game.
South Fayette finished with 210 yards of offense, including 18 yards in the second half.
The Lions capped a 12-win season with another WPIAL title in their storied history.
“After a two-year hiatus we were back on top in western Pennsylvania,” Rossi said. “They are the two-time defending state champions, and we knew they wouldn’t just lie down for us. We went down fighting.”
Tom Reisenweber is a freelance writer.