DORMONT, Pa. — Pittsburgh Central Catholic avenged an early season loss to Mt. Lebanon with a dominating 28-7 win on Friday night to advance to the WPIAL Class-6A championship. Central will face the winner of the North Allegheny vs. Canon-McMillan game in the championship next Saturday at Norwin High School.
Central imposed its will on the ground in the rainy conditions, but quarterback Payton Wehner also tossed two touchdown passes to Division 1 recruit Peter Gonzalez. Minus one drive, the Vikings’ defense pretty much gave up nothing to Mount Lebanon.
It took Central just two plays from scrimmage on their opening drive to get into the end zone, as Wehner ran up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead. On the previous play, Wehner connected to Bradley Gompers down the seam for 27 yards to get Central into Mount Lebanon territory.
After trading possessions, Mount Lebanon cornerback Fred Lasota picked off a deep pass from Wehner, and the Blue Devils took over from their own 14-yard line. Mount Lebanon wasn’t able to build off the turnover and went three-and-out for the third consecutive drive.
Mount Lebanon finally broke through and put together a drive that concluded in a 10-yard touchdown pass from David Shields to Johnny McGhee to tie the game at 7-7 with 9:41 remaining in the second quarter.
Central responded with an impressive drive of their own that got capped by a Wehner 1-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings back up at 14-7. Central’s offensive line completely dominated upfront on the possession, as the Vikings ran the ball with ease.
With 2:34 remaining in the first half, Mount Lebanon head coach Bob Palko made a questionable coaching decision, as the Blue Devils ran a fake punt from their own 42-yard line that got sniffed out by Central for a 7-yard loss. A few plays later, the Vikings capitalized off the turnover with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Wehner to Gonzalez to increase Central’s lead to 21-7 with 1:04 left in the first half.
It was a scoreless affair in the third quarter, as both defenses were stout against the run in the rainy conditions. Early in the fourth quarter, Wehner capped a methodical drive with a game-sealing 12-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez to give the Vikings a commanding 28-7 lead with 8:18 remaining in the game. It was the second time that Wehner connected to Gonzelez on the night. Both touchdown passes came on fade routes and Gonzalez just high-pointed the ball both times against a smaller cornerback.