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Pittsburgh Central Catholic HC Ryan Lehmeier Celebrates First Win over Woodland Hills



Pittsburgh Central Catholic football head coach Ryan Lehmeier

TURTLE CREEK, Pa. — Pittsburgh Central Catholic head coach Ryan Lehmeier witnessed his team dominate rival Woodland Hills at the Wolvarena Friday night to open the 2023 season.

For the long-storied program, this win isn’t too surprising. It’s the sixth consecutive in the series and also, the first matchup since the Vikings beat the Wolverines, 24-6, in the semifinals of the old WPIAL 4A in 2015. For Lehmeier, this win starts his reign at the helm of the team and begins a new era for the school in football.

Ryan Lehmeier played quarterback for North Hills and also served as an assistant coach at both Pine-Richland and Seneca Valley, prior to this current position. He took over from former long-time Central Catholic head coach, Terry Totten.

Totten led Central Catholic to two PIAA State Championships in 2007 and 2015. He also won six WPIAL Titles, taking home the Class 4A titles in 2007, 2013 and 2015 and getting three Class 6A titles in 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Following the win, Vikings special teams coordinator Ron Fuchs, along with Lehmeier’s mother, Trudy, gave him the game ball to honor his first victory. 

Lehmeier enjoyed the moment, but gave credit to his team for executing the game plan after a great week of practice prior to the game.

“I don’t think I was nervous,” Lehmeier said on his first game as head coach. “I think it was just more responsibilities. You’re responsible for more. I was more excited. I thought we had a great week of practice and preparation. It’s not about me, it’s about these kids and the work they’ve put in these past couple of months. If you watch them work, there was nothing to be nervous about.”

One player who starred on the night for the Viking was senior quarterback Payton Wehner. He threw for around 300 yards and five touchdowns on the night, two to Penn State commit and senior wide receiver Peter Gonzalez and two more to fellow senior wide receiver Vernon Settles.

“I thought Payton played well,” Lehmeier said. “I thought the number one thing he did was kept his poise. We talked a lot about poise and composure. Playing the position and being a field general and not out there just throwing it, but really running the offense. He ran the show tonight.”

The big difference between Lehmeier and Totten is that there is a big change in the offense. Totten liked a more traditional, conservative approach, while Lehmeier has implemented a more fast paced attack that overwhelms opponents.

While Lehmeier acknowledged the different offensive playbook, he said that he’ll change it to make sure his team has the best opportunities to go out and win the game.

“We obviously have a style of play, but we’re going to do what’s most opportunistic for our kids,” Lehmeier said. “We’re going to put them in the best position to have success. I thought tonight we played with a lot of balance on offense and we’re just going to continue to put kids in the best position possible to make plays.”

Gonzalez is working to get used to the new style of play, but was ecstatic to perform so well in his new head coach’s first victory.

“It’s huge and it’s the first of many,” Gonzalez said. “That’s all I can say.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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