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No. 5 Central Catholic ‘returns’ to title game with win over Woodland Hills | TribLIVE.com
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No. 5 Central Catholic ‘returns’ to title game with win over Woodland Hills

Paul Schofield
| Friday, November 20, 2015 11:24 p.m
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Ronnie Jones intercepts a pass intended for Woodland Hills' Raymond Dunn (5), at the 10-yard line, before returning the ball 90 yards to give Central Catholic a 17-0 lead at the end of the first half during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Gustave Frerotte (7) is forced out of bounds by Woodland Hills' Rodney Dennard (32) during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Woodland Hills' Raymond Dunn (5) works the ball upfield before being tackled by Central Catholic's Ronald George (2) during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Ronald George (2) celebrates scoring on the opening kickoff against Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov.mber 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Ronald George (2) makes an opening play kickoff return to start the game 7-0 against Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Woodland Hills Daron Cooper (3), breaks a tackle from Pittsburgh Central Catholic's David Adams (35),during the AAAA Semifinal at Fox Chapel High School, on Friday November 20, 2015.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Vinny Emanuele (22) makes his way into the end zone to help his team to a 24-6 victory over Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Vinny Emanuele (22) makes his way into the end zone to help his team to a 24-6 victory over Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Vinny Emanuele (22) makes his way into the end zone to help his team to a 24-6 victory over Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic celebrates a 24-6 win over Woodland Hills during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Central Catholic's Daron Cooper (3) holds up the 'Viking Chains' in celebration of their 24-6 win over Woodland Hills, during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, November 20, 2015, at Fox Chapel High School.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) catches the winning touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) pauses for a moment in the locker room before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) adjusts his helmet before playing Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Andre Guest (75) leads his team out of the locker room before playing Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane reacts after a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Zach Lemirande (58) and Brandon Humphrey Jr. (5) react after a fumble by Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Colin McDonough (24) motions to the crowd after an injury against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Phil Jurkovec (15) muscles past a host of Penn-Trafford players during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Tyler King (44) catches a pass in front of Penn-Trafford's Joey Peduzzi (7) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Caleb Frye (40) celebrates his team's win over Pine- Richland with a cheerleader during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) celebrates a touchdown with Penn- Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Ryan Duran (6) scores a touchdown against Penn-Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Jimmy Graf (8) celebrates his touchdown against Penn- Trafford during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) knocks off Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) pauses for a moment on the field after his team beat Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's James Willard (65) reacts with Pine-Richland's Collin Shaffer (52) after a fumble recovery during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) celebrates as time expires against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Ben Davis (22) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) is bombarded by teammates after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland14112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) scores against Penn-Trafford's Luke Wentroble (42) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland13112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Pine-Richland's Saige Simpson (1) rushes against Penn-Trafford's Jonah Lisbon (11) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland12112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Alonzo Canady (36) watches as time expires against Pine- Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland7112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tim Vecchio (3) brings down Pine-Richland's Matthew Zoeller (4) after a completed pass during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland9112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Logan Hawkins (66) reacts as Penn-Trafford's Brett Laffoon (10) falls into the end zone for a touchdown against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland1112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford head coach John Ruane embraces his team after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland4112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Joey Peduzzi (7) against Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland6112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Nick Koval (34) reacts after beating Pine-Richland during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.
GTRPTPineRichland3112115
Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Penn-Trafford's Tyler Bruno (5) celebrates his game-winning touchdown with Tyler Lavelle (2) during the WPIAL Class AAAA football semifinal on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 38-34.

Central Catholic’s offense didn’t reach the end zone until the fourth quarter Friday night. But by then, the team’s defense and special teams already had crossed the goal line twice.

And that was enough.

Central Catholic’s Ron George returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown and Ronnie Jones took an interception 87 yards for another to defeat Woodland Hills, 24-6, in a WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal at Fox Chapel.

Central’s offense had just 45 yards at halftime and led 17-0.

“That early lead kind of put (the responsibility) on us,” Central Catholic defensive coordinator Dave Fleming said. “We pride ourselves on, if we have a lead, we can close the door no matter what stage of the game.”

Woodland Hills’ offense never reached the end zone.

The win carries No. 5 seed Central Catholic (11-1) to the WPIAL finals for the third consecutive season. The Vikings were champions in 2013 and runner-up last year.

And for the third year in a row, No. 1 seed Woodland Hills (11-1) watched Central Catholic end its season. The Wolverines lost 28-0 to Central in the quarterfinals last season. In that win, Central Catholic had a punt return touchdown and two defensive scores.

“The last three times we played Central, special teams hurt us,” Woodland Hills coach George Novak said.

Central Catholic needed only 11 seconds to reach the end zone Friday. Woodland Hills kicked short to keep the ball away from Central returners Damar Hamlin and Jones. Lined up just ahead of them, George fielded the short kick and sprinted to the end zone.

“In hindsight, we should have kicked it on the ground,” Novak said. “But we didn’t think he would be there. We thought somebody else would be there. He snuck up and got it.”

George isn’t typically on Central Catholic’s kick return team but was added Friday just to counter Woodland Hills’ pooch kicks, he said. The kick return touchdown was his first and showed his sprinter’s speed.

“They do that a lot,” George said. “They did that last year too. We watched a lot of that film, so we were really expecting that.”

At 11:49, Central Catholic led 7-0. The Central lead reached 17-0 in the second quarter after a 35-yard field goal by Jake Rocchi and an 87-yard interception return by Jones. The interception was the first thrown this season by Woodland Hills.

“I told (the team) big plays were going to make the difference,” Novak said. “We didn’t make them and they did.”

Central Catholic’s Vinny Emanuele added an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:41 left in the fourth, but the Vikings offense had done little until then.

Jones, who had 144 rushing yards last week, had 28 yards on 12 carries. Sophomore quarterback Troy Fisher rushed for 21 yards on 11 carries and threw for only 36 yards.

Emanuele led the Vikings with 54 yards on five carries — all in the fourth quarter.

“It was a tremendous effort by our defense,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. “The offense was having a few problems but they finally got one in there, and the special teams showed up good. But I credit our defense for really swarming.”

Woodland Hills had more total yards than Central Catholic: 250-156. Wolverines senior Miles Sanders rushed for 111 yards on 19 carries, with 36 yards on a well-blocked fake punt.

Jo-El Shaw added 68 on 18 carries.

But Woodland Hills turned the ball over three times inside Central Catholic territory with a fumble, an interception and a failed fourth-down conversion. The Wolverines’ only points were scored by its defense. With 5:21 left in the fourth, Dayna Wilson-Adams returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown.

The Wolverines drove deep into Central Catholic territory on its first two possessions after halftime but didn’t score on either. The first — a 13-play drive — ended with a missed 29-yard field goal. The second drive stopped when Central linebacker David Adams sacked Daron Cooper on fourth down at the 22.

With 3 minutes left, Hamlin sealed Woodland Hills’ fate with an interception at midfield.

“They’ve got a great defense,” Novak said. “Nine Division 1 guys on defense. At times we moved the ball, but we couldn’t get into the end zone.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review sports reporter. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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