HERSHEY (AP) — North Catholic won its first state football championship in school history Friday by executing a two-point conversion in overtime to edge Old Forge, 15-14, in the PIAA Class A title game at Hersheypark Stadium.
Junior quarterback P.J. Fulmore pushed his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion that gave North Catholic (16-0) a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Fulmore, who finished with 109 rushing yards on 33 carries, scored on a 10-yard run in overtime. Brandon Yescavage scored first in the extra session on a 5-yard run for Old Forge (14-2).
“I was just thinking about all the hard work we put into the season. This is actually how we started our season. We started with a double-overtime win by going for two to win the game. And that’s how we ended our season,” Fulmore said. “I felt everybody on me. I just kept pushing and people were pushing me.
“I knew I wasn’t going to go down,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than this.”
North Catholic trailed 7-0 at halftime but the Trojans put together an 86-yard drive capped by Jerome Turner’s 16-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
“This was all heart and determination,” North Catholic coach Bill Ravenstahl said. “That’s what these kids are all about. It worked out for us.”
Old Forge took a 7-0 lead just 28 seconds before halftime when quarterback Jake Manetti connected with tight end Shane Schuback from 20 yards out on a trick play.
The contest, featuring two Class A programs making their first appearance in the PIAA championship game, was dominated by defense and resembled a gridiron version of gridlock.
Combined the two offenses combined for only 364 yards of total offense — only 12 yards shy of the record for fewest yards in a championship game.
On the 86-yard scoring drive by North Catholic, a march that took 15 plays and chewed up nearly 9 minutes of clock over the third and fourth quarter, the Trojans converted four times on fourth down.
The 16-yard touchdown run on a lateral pass from Fulmore came on fourth-and-4.
“They made a couple big plays on that one drive. That was the whole difference in the game. We just didn’t get (Fulmore) on the ground enough times,” said Old Forge coach Michael Schuback, an Old Forge alumnus.
“I wasn’t surprised they went for two. Especially after a 10-yard run. But I thought we could close it down. Two of my kids said they had him on the ground with his knee. He just keeps flailing around and we saw that on film. It is what it is.”
Yescavage finished with 71 yards on 22 carries, and Schuback added 63 to account for 134 of the Blue Devils’ 156 yards on the ground.
Old Forge Linebacker Jorden Sekol led all tacklers in this defensive contest with 11 tackles, including two for a loss.