North Catholic (10-1) advanced to the semifinals of the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs after defeating defending WPIAL and PIAA Champions Quaker Valley 31-24.
The Trojans committed six turnovers and gave up the second most points of the season, but on the game’s final drive were able to find the end zone and escape with the victory.
North Catholic blocked a punt on Quaker Valley’s first possession and appeared poised to run away with it.
After missing a field goal, North Catholic committed three turnovers on three straight possessions (an interception and two fumbles) allowed the Quakers to tie the game 7-7.
The Trojans downed a punt inside the two-yard line, which led to a safety with 10:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Another fumble was followed by a Zack Rocco interception that was returned 41 yards for a touchdown by Dylan Moore.
North Catholic responded on the next drive with a touchdown when Rocco hooked up with sophomore Nick Maher for 17 yards, giving the Trojans back the lead.
A third interception by Rocco led to a 25-yard field goal for Quaker Valley and the game was tied at 17.
In the fourth quarter, Rocco scored both of the teams’ touchdowns on running plays (seven yards and four yards) as the final score came with just 38 seconds remaining.
The final drive for the Trojans spanned 60 yards on nine plays and lasted just over three minutes.
The Trojans will face Derry in a Big East Conference rematch from week 4 that saw Derry win 27-0.
North Catholic QB Zack Rocco