Fast start
CWNC cruises to 35-14 grid playoff win
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Eagle Staff Writer
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Published:
November 11, 2017
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Joe Meinert (5) breaks loose for yardage during Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic's 35-14 WPIAL Class 2A quarterfinal football win Friday night at Hampton.

HAMPTON TWP — Fast out of the gate does not do justice to the performance put forth by Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s football team Friday night.

The Trojans scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions and led 35-0 at halftime in a WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal playoff against Serra Catholic at Hampton’s Fridley Field.

Backups played the majority of the second half for CWNC, which went on to post a 35-14 win.

The Trojans’ dominance began up front where they won in the trenches.

“Our kids work hard not just at football, but it the weight room, too,” said CWNC coach Patrick O’Shea. “We follow the weight plan to the letter and I believed we would be the stronger team tonight.”

The Trojans (10-2) will face an undefeated Washington team in the semifinals next Friday.

It took CWNC just two plays to jump on the Eagles (7-5). Sophomore quarterback Zack Rocco faked an option pitch to the right, cut up field and outraced Serra’s secondary for a 60-yard touchdown run.

“The fake made that play,” said Rocco. “They bit on it and I just ran with it.”

After a 3-and-out from the Eagles, Rocco took to the air, hitting Nikhai Hill-Green on a 41-yard scoring play. Hill-Green withstood a shot from a Serra defender at the 25-yard line, then broke a tackle at the 5 before crossing the goalline.

Serra’s offense was unable to take much pressure off of its defense. The Eagles had seven offensive plays go for negative yardage in the first half.

“Their lines were a lot bigger and better and that’s what it came down to for us,” said Serra coach Jose Regus. “I wasn’t expecting that. The effort was there, but it just wasn’t our night.”

The Trojans’ momentum turned into an avalanche that buried the Eagles in the second quarter. Three more touchdowns were scored in less than nine minutes — Hill-Green and Joe Meinert on short runs and Rocco found Tyree Brown on a 37-yard bomb.