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Insane Finish: Central Catholic Beats Penn Hills on Last-Second Blocked FG Return



PENN HILLS Pa. — After a loss to Pine-Richland last week, Pittsburgh Central Catholic got back on track by defeating Penn Hills, 33-28, on Friday night at Yuhas-McGinley Stadium in a crazy game.

Trailing late, Penn Hills quarterback Julian Dugger led his team down the field and finished a drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Amir Key. Dugger than rushed for the two-point conversion to put Penn Hills up 28-27 with 18 seconds remaining.

Central got the ball down to Penn Hills 32-yard line and called timeout to attempt a long game-winning field goal. The field goal got blocked, but the ball never went past the line of scrimmage. Central offensive lineman Anthony Shovlin picked up the loose ball and ran for a touchdown to win the game.


Central got on the scoreboard first, thanks to a 7-yard touchdown run by Elijah Faulkner. Xxavier Thomas returned the opening kickoff to Penn Hills’ 25-yard line to set up the Vikings’ score.

After trading possessions, Dugger found D’Andre Cochran for a 34-yard touchdown to make it a 7-6 game with 2:33 left in the first quarter. Penn Hills missed the extra point.

After a quick defensive stop, Martel Palmer blocked Central’s punt and Cameron Thomas recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Dugger rushed into the end zone on the two-point attempt to give Penn Hills a 14-7 lead.

Faulkner answered with a 54-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14 with 41 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, Dugger completed a 51-yard touchdown to Raion Strader, but it was negated due to a holding penalty. Penn Hills rebounded, as Dugger connected to Coleman for a 56-yard catch-and-run on third-and-18 to set up Penn Hills at the Vikings’ 8-yard line. However, the Vikings’ defense made a stand and Anthony Speca blocked Penn Hills’ 25-yard field goal attempt.

Central ran a fake punt on fourth-and-12 from its own 44-yard line and converted. The long snapper snapped the ball to the upback, who ran up the middle and just barely got enough yardage for the first down.

On the next play, Payton Wehner completed to Bradley Gompers for a 42-yard gain to set up the Vikings at Penn Hills’ 2-yard line. Two plays later, Wehner found Dylan Deasy in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to give Central a 21-14 lead with 35 seconds left in the first half. Penn Hills was unable to do anything at the end of the quarter and went into halftime trailing 21-14.

Penn Hills went three-and-out on its opening possession of the second half. Speca sacked Dugger on the first play of the drive, which put Penn Hills behind the chains. Central took over from their own 47-yard line following the punt.

On Penn Hills’ following possession, Dugger ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to make it a 21-20 game with 6:19 remaining in the third quarter after Penn Hills missed the extra point.

Central Catholic responded with a long drive that was capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Faulkner to give the Vikings a 27-20 advantage. Central’s extra point was blocked, which combined with Dugger’s late touchdown drive, appeared to give the home team enough to win the game before the late-game craziness that handed things to Vikings.

The Vikings have had an up and down season this year at 4-4 and probably need to win out to make the WPIAL Class-6A playoffs. Central has not missed the playoffs since 1999. Penn Hills dropped to 4-4 with the loss.

Central is on the road next Friday night against Seneca Valley, while Penn Hills hosts Shaler.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Wow! What an unbelievable finish!!

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