DORMONT Pa. — With rainy conditions playing a major factor, Pittsburgh Central Catholic quarterback Payton Wehner threw the ball just 11 times in the Vikings’ 28-7 win over Mount Lebanon on Friday night in the WPIAL Class-6A semifinal. However, Wehner got it done through the air when he needed too, as he tossed two touchdown passes Peter Gonzalez. The first touchdown grab by Gonzalez was a 20-yarder and the game-sealing one was from 12 yards out. Both were fade passes where he high pointed the ball.
“I think my size is a big advantage that I have over these (defensive backs),” Gonzalez said on winning 50/50 balls. “Not too many are my size, so I give my quarterback the option to just throw it up, and I go get it.”
With Central gashing Mount Lebanon on the ground for 248 yards in the pouring down rain, it opened up the passing game for Wehner and Gonzalez.
“A little bit early on, we knew that we had to run the ball,” Gonzalez said on whether the rainy conditions affected Central’s game plan. “Once we got the run game going, I think that’s when it opened up on the outside for me when we needed it to be.”
Gonzalez, who stands at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, has several Power Five programs looking at him. One of whom is Pitt, where his dad, Pete Gonzalez Sr., starred at quarterback in the 1990s.
“I have been watching Pitt since I was a kid, so It’s definitely been a big thing of mine to get looked at by Pitt,” Gonzalez said. “But now that the process is open, I’m definitely keeping my mind open. I’m not saying that Pitt is out, but there are definitely some other schools I’m considering, as well.”
Gonzalez has visited Pitt, Penn State, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech so far this season. The junior three-star recruit says he has five schools in mind as potential landing spots.
“I have a few top schools. Not willing to share anything yet, but there’s definitely some I’ve been talking to a lot,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and the Vikings got revenge on Mount Lebanon for a Sept. 16 loss and from last year’s WPIAL championship defeat. They’ll look to do the same next Saturday night when they face North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class-6A championship at Norwin High School. North Allegheny defeated Central, 7-3, on Sept. 23.
“It felt great,” Gonzalez said on getting payback on Mount Lebanon. “Last year’s championship wasn’t in our favor and even this year a tough loss by one point. So, it felt great for us and the team to get this one back.”