Friday night, York High head coach Russ Stoner knew what his team was about to face, but that didn't matter.
"This is the next step, we welcome the challenge. I was really proud of our kids. We hung tough for a while with them,” he said about his Bearcats' battle against state power Pittsburgh Central Catholic at Woodland High School. “They're obviously a powerhouse out here and we won’t face anyone like them in our conference."
York’s defense forced a three-and-out series to start the game, then marched straight down field to score on a 5-yard run by quarterback Tobee Stokes.
The rest of the night didn't go so well for the Bearcats.
The Vikings defense tightened up and Central Catholic reeled off 42 unanswered points to defeat York, 42-7, in the Western Pennsylvania vs. Everyone Showcase at the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek.
“I give those guys credit, that was a nice plan,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said of York, which is coming off an 11-win season. "They've got some talented players over there."
J.D Younger returned the ensuing kickoff to the Bearcats’ 35-yard line. Dom Pieto scored from 1 yard out to tie the game 7-7 late in the first quarter.
Central Catholic linebacker Luke Harris picked off a Stokes pass over the middle and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. On the next Vikings possession, Ed Tillman reeled off consecutive big runs -— one for 11 yards and then he slipped through the middle of the defense and sped away for a 51-yard score to give Central Catholic a 21-7 lead before halftime.
York nearly scored just before the half when, after a muffed punt at midfield with 4 seconds left, Stokes lined up at running back, then took a pitch from Sam Stoner and heaved a long pass down the field. The pass went through the hands of the receiver.
The second half was all Vikings. Pieto ran for two more touchdowns and threw another on a 31-yard pass to Anderson Cynkar. Central Catholic, which is expected to contend for a state title this season, outgained York, 156-17, in the second half. After allowing 68 yards on the opening scoring drive, the Vikings defense held York to 4 yards of offense the rest of the game.
“The first drive of the game was almost flawless,” Stoner said. “I think we hit them in the mouth pretty well. At the end of the day, they’re a great football team, and I think we’re a pretty good team, also.”
Pieto scored 2 more times leading the Vikings with three touchdowns.
William Penn 7 0 0 0 — 7
Central Catholic 7 14 14 7 — 42
WP -- Tobee Stokes 5 run (Shavell Jones kick)
CC -- Dom Pieto 1 run (Johnathan Opalko kick)
CC -- Luke Harris 27 interception return (Opalko kick)
CC -- Edward Tillman 51 run (Opalko kick)
CC -- Pieto 2 run (Opalko kick)
CC -- Anderson Cynkar 31 pass from Pieto (Opalko kick)
CC -- Pieto 3 run (Opalko kick)