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Trojans win physical contest, 21-10

Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash

MCCANDLESS TWP — The Backyard Brawl may have been Thursday night at Acrisure Stadium, but those who missed it got a similar high-intensity game Friday night as North Catholic football hosted Shady Side Academy .

Cracks and pops constantly echoed through J. C. Stone Field and the surrounding hill side from bone-crunching hits as the Trojans defeated the Bulldogs, 21-10, in non-conference action.

“I think both teams are physical teams,” North Catholic coach Patrick O’Shea said. “I feel at anytime the game could’ve flipped. There were a couple banged-up players after the game.”

Bulldogs quarterback Max Wickland came out of the locker room looking comfortable as he marched his team down the field on the game’s opening possession, chewing up almost six minutes off the clock.

The drive was stalled by the Trojans’ defense, setting up an Omar Parker 44-yard field goal to get the game rolling.

“No matter what level of football you play sometimes you come out a little flat,” O’Shea said. “That emotional part sometimes is missing. I told the kids before the game that it’s missing right now and they better find it.”

On the following possession, the Trojans (2-0) answered right back off a 17-yard touchdown run by Samir Ware.

Both teams traded touchdown scores in the second quarter, first via a blocked punt and recovery for a touchdown by Gavin Kamody, and a 17-yard touchdown pass from Wickland to Deacon Durham.

“They are doing a couple different things,” Shady Side coach Chuck DiNardo said. “They did speed it up a couple times, but North Catholic has a big line and they lean on those guys.”

Jack Fennell scored the game’s only second half points off a 45-yard rushing score only 41 seconds into the third quarter.

The Trojan defense came out flying even harder than before when the second half got underway, allowing just 13 rushing yards in the final two quarters, thus helping their team to a 11-point victory.

North Catholic’s running game totaled 146 yards on the ground, while the passing game showed room for improvement under the teams new wide-zone scheme on offense.

“Our whole thing is to make progress each week,” O’Shea said. “I think it’s a work in progress. It’s very different from what we did in the past. We have the kids to do it.”

The Trojans will find one of the most daunting tasks they may face this season when Aliquippa comes to J.C. Stone Field on Friday.

“It’s an opportunity to play one of the greatest high school football programs in the country,” O’Shea said. “We know it’s going to be an unbelievable challenge and I hope the kids believe enough in themselves that when we get on the field with them that we are able to be North Catholic athletes and not try to find an easy way out.”

Shady Side Academy 3 7 0 0 - 10

North Catholic 7 7 7 0 - 21

First Quarter

SS – Omar Parker 44 field goal, 6:14

NC – Samir Ware 17 run (Rylee Kumer kick), 3:11

Second Quarter

NC – Gavin Kamody punt block and return (Kumer kick), 4:14

SS – Deacon Durham 17 pass from Max Wickland (Parker kick), 1:08

Third Quarter

NC – Jack Fennell 45 run (Kumer kick), 11:19

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Shady Side, Eddie Debruce 6-(-2), Joey Bellinotti 2-(-1), Max Wickland 11-15, Isaiah Beckham 4-7. North Catholic, Jack Fennell 8-84, Jason Siket 4-(-8), Samir Ware 6-27, Chase Arrington 12-43.

Passing: Shady Side, Max Wickland 15-26-166-0. North Catholic, Jason Siket 2-9-48-1.

Receiving: Shady Side, Joey Bellinotti 3-41, Nate Mallory 2-33, Deacon Durham 5-49, Eddie Debruce 3-14, Charlie Johnson 2-29. North Catholic, Jack Fennell 1-30, Brady O’Hara 1-1