SOUTH FAYETTE TWP., Pa. — Serra Catholic (12-1) had been relying on its defense all season and got the biggest performance from their group at their biggest moment. It took some special teams magic, and five forced turnovers, but the No. 6 seed in the WPIAL AA knocked off No. 2 seed Sto-Rox (12-1),13-12, and advanced to the WPIAL finals.
The game started with a bevy of turnovers. Jaymont Green-Miller started things off with an interception for Sto-Rox, but the Vikings quarterback Josh Jenkins fumbled extending a run on the ensuing drive.
Sto-Rox got the ball back but lost it again on a Jay Pearson fumble. A third fumble cost the Vikings even more as a punt return went off of the leg of Green-Miller. Serra Catholic recovered, and Pharoh Fisher almost fumbled himself, but the referees deemed he cross the goal line, for a score that gave Serra a 7-0 lead.
Sto-Rox bounced back right back with a steady dose of Jay Pearson. This got the Vikings to the 32-yard line, where a 4th-and-5 pass from Jenkins to Zay Davis cut the lead to 7-6. A missed extra point after a Sto-Rox false start became the difference heading into the half.
Sto-Rox had a chance to score before the half and get the ball, but once again hurt themselves. A field-flipping pass to Drevon Miller-Ross gave Sto-Rox the ball at the eight-yard line, but a fumbled snap on the field resulted in no points for a team that had two botched field goals and three other turnovers in the game.
The second half continued the theme of Sto-Rox struggling, and Serra Catholic taking advantage on special teams. Serra recovered an onside kick to start the half and converted a fake punt to move the sticks. Still, the Sto-Rox defense held firm and kept their team in the game.
Drevon Miller-Ross caught a 60-yard pass from his 25, and was on his way to the end zone when he fumbled. The ball bounced 15 yards into the end zone for a touchback. Sto got the ball back, got down to the four-yard line, and quarterback Josh Jenkins was intercepted as he rolled out to his left. Fortunately for him, Serra Catholic took the ball out.
Serra did nothing with the ball and punted back to Sto-Rox who completed big passes to Zay Davis, Green-Miller before Jay Pearson rumbled, stumbled, and grabbed a touchdown that gave Sto-Rox a 12-7 lead with just 4:41 to go. The Sto-Rox offense had five turnovers, a missed field goal, a missed extra point, and a missed two-point conversion. They still somehow dominated in terms of explosive plays, and yardage, and found themselves up on the scoreboard late in the game.
The Sto-Rox defense needed their offense the entire game, and they could not come through. Now, the Vikings offense was relying on the defense. Serra Catholic showed poised and on third and 10 Terrell Booth caught a short drag route and found himself going untouched all the way to the end zone for a 43-yard score that gave the Eagles a 13-12 lead with 2:42 to go.
That is when the Serra Catholic defense once again stepped up. A sack turned into an incompletion and fourth and long was no good which sealed the win for Serra Catholic.
Serra Catholic will play the winner of Beaver Falls and Steel Valley next Friday at Heinz Field.