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PSR's High School Football Game of the Week: Pittsburgh Central Catholic at Woodland Hills

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In an area rife with great football rivalries, one of the best will unfold at the Wolvarena in Churchill Friday night when Pittsburgh Central Catholic, ranked No. 1 in the state, takes on a Woodland Hills team currently on the rise.

Both teams, almost always the leaders in the Big East Conference, are undefeated this season and both are loaded with top-flight talent.

While Central Catholic—the top-ranked team in the WPIAL and the PIAA, and ranked in many national polls—garners the most attention, Woodland Hills' line-up also packs a punch.

Despite returning just three starters on defense and four on offense from last season's WPIAL finals appearance, the Wolverines are off to a strong start.

They opened the season with an impressive 31-7 demolition of Triple-A stalwart Thomas Jefferson, a game that served notice to the rest of the WPIAL that Woody High wasn't planning on a rebuilding year. Week 2 was even more impressive, as the Wolverines jumped to a 14-0 lead and hung on to defeat host North Hills 31-17. Last week, they won a 45-6 laugher over Plum.

One theme throughout the early season has been special teams and opportunistic big plays.

Already this season, Jaimire Dutrieuille has a defensive touchdown on a recovered fumble, Jason Peterson returned a blocked punt 8 yards for a score and Harry Randall has a 65-yard punt return touchdown. Randall also set up another score in Week 1 with a 55-yard punt return.

Dutruielle has taken over primary ball-carrying duties for Lafayette Pitts, now a freshmen at the University of Pittsburgh, and senior Pat Menifee has given the Wolverines a steady, veteran hand behind center. Big 6-5, 210-pound wideout Shakim Alonzo—who has scholarship offers from Pitt, Wisconsin, Cincinnati and several MAC schools—has game-breaking ability. On defense, senior linebacker Mike Caprara (6-0, 210) is in his fourth year as a starter and has been called by Woody High head coach George Novak “one of the best we've ever had” – quite a statement from a coach who's put eight players into the NFL.

Central Catholic, though, is ranked first in the state for a reason, and one glance at their loaded offense offers reason enough.

Quarterback Perry Hills and receiver-defensive back Anthony Nixon have each have committed to the University of Maryland, while offensive lineman Logan Dietz and running back Damion Jones-Moore also have Division I offers. So does defensive back Juwan Haynes.

Jones-Moore has been one of the most explosive offensive players in the state, rumbling, sprinting and spinning to 414 yards and 8 touchdowns on just 42 carries. He's topped the 100-yard mark in all three games.

“He’s a very talented, quick athletic guy,” said Metro Index's Joe Butler of Jones-Moore. “He’s built solid, he’s just not tall, but a Division-I school will take him.”

Hills has topped the century mark in passing yards in each game as well, and Nixon has 14 catches for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns. Fullback Robbie Brown adds a bullish dimension to the offense and has served as a compliment to Jones-Moore.

Arnel Farmer and Gavin Sandidge at linebacker solidify the Vikings defense, and Haynes and Nixon can take away portions of the field for opposing quarterbacks.

Central Catholic showed their talent from the opening game this season, as they beat one of the top teams in Pennsylvania, Archbishop Wood, 20-17 in the season opener.

Since then, they road the passing game of Hills and Nixon to a 30-7 win over Bethel Park, and last week it was Damion Jones-Moore's four touchdowns that lifted the Vikings to a rout of Kiski.

“They're No. 1 for a reason,” echoed Novak.

Kick-off is set for 7 PM. Check back RIGHT HERE for video highlights after the game.

2011 PSR Game of the Week Schedule
Sept. 2: North Allegheny 53 - State College 21 (view highlights here)
Sept. 9: Hopewell 22 - Montour 19 (view highlights here)
Sept. 16: Mount Lebanon 16 – Penn Hills 0 (view highlights here)
Sept. 23: Pittsburgh Central Catholic at Woodland Hills, 7 PM
Sept. 30: North Hills at Hempfield, 7:30
Oct. 7: Chartiers Valley at Thomas Jefferson, 7:30
Oct. 14: Pittsburgh Central Catholic at Gateway, 7:30
Oct. 21: Erie McDowell at Butler, 7:30
Oct. 28: Mount Lebanon at Upper Saint Clair, 7:30

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