Class AAAA State Final PreviewSt. Joseph's Prep vs. Pittsburgh Central Catholic
Sunday, 6 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.
Twitter. Follow @ozoneinq for updates.
TV. Live on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.
Coaches. In four years at the Prep, Gabe Infante is 32-15. Terry Totten is 97-13 in nine seasons at Central Catholic.
History. Central Catholic leads the head-to-head series, 1-0. In the 2004 opener for both teams, the Vikings triumphed, 38-12.
How St. Joe's Prep can win. The Hawks (11-3) need to stay diversified on offense, mixing the run and pass to keep the Vikings defense guessing. QB Chris Martin, who has made a strong return from a knee injury, has thrown for 2,066 yards and 26 touchdowns in 12 appearances. Martin and the Hawks should try to get the ball to speedsters Olamide Zaccheaus and John Reid in open space with bubble or jailbreak screens. On defense, the Hawks, with ends Jake Strain and Joe DuMond leading the way, must stop Luigi Lista-Brinza (1,604 rushing yards, 21 TDs) from finding regular daylight.
How Central Catholic can win. In a run-heavy attack, the Vikings' solid line continues to control things and open holes for Lista-Brinza and backfield partner Riley Redman (1,136 rushing yards, 16 TDs). When called upon to throw, QB J.J. Cosentino, a Florida State recruit, makes the most of his opportunities. He has completed 40 of 86 passes for 766 yards and 12 TDs. Central Catholic (15-0) also must maintain its defensive intensity, especially against the run. A unit led by led by linebacker Niko Thorpe has yielded an average of 5.5 points, 49 rushing yards, and 78 passing yards.
Fast fact. Central Catholic senior wideout Shafer Swann (11 catches for 353 yards, 4 TDs) and sophomore running back Braxton Swann are sons of former Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann.
- Rick O'Brien