UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Friday December 9 2022
Leave this field empty.

PSR's High School Football Game of the Week: Thomas Jefferson tops Char-Valley

PSR Logo
A stout defense, early mistakes and a third quarter injury to standout quarterback Wayne Capers proved too much for the Chartiers Valley Colts to overcome, and Thomas Jefferson continued their dominance of the Big Eight Conference with a 37-22 win over Char-Valley on Friday.


To say that the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars are used to playing in big games is similar to stating that the Pope is Catholic. It's a simple fact of the WPIAL, and that big-game experience was obvious early in Friday night's Big Eight Conference showdown between TJ and Chartiers Valley.

Char-Valley was shaky in the opening minutes of the first quarter, and Thomas Jefferson took advantage of two early CV blunders to take a quick 14-0 first quarter lead.

A bad snap on a punt sailed into the Char-Valley end zone, where Colts' punter Cody Kent saved a possible TJ touchdown by corralling the loose ball, but was tackled at the one-yard line. TJ quarterback Dom Presto scored on the next play to give the Jaguars a 7-0 lead.

On TJ's next possession, a defensive pass interference penalty set the Jaguars up deep in Char-Valley territory before Presto hit receiver Zach Schademan from 7 yards out, putting the home team up 14-0.

Although the Thomas Jefferson defense gave Wayne Capers and the CV offense problems early on, it was Capers who got the Colts back in the game.

Late in the first quarter, TJ tried a pass deep in their own territory and Capers came up with a big interception, setting up Char-Valley with a first and goal from the TJ five. Capers then ran it in from the five to pull the Colts with a score a 14-7.

Head coach Bill Cherpak showed a lot of faith in his senior quarterback despite the costly interception, and continued to attack the Char-Valley secondary. Midway through the second, Presto connected with receiver Jacob Mascaro on a beautiful 32-yard throw and catch for TJ's third touchdown of the half and a 21-7 lead.

Capers was heating up, though, as he directed a quick 70-yard drive for a score. Unable to run the ball against a stout TJ front, Chartiers Valley had to rely on Capers' arm to move the ball. He hit two long passes to pick up 63 yards before fullback Joe Ragni bulldozed his way into the end zone from two yards out. A missed extra point made the score 21-13 Thomas Jefferson, but the CV defense put the ball back into their quarterback's hands immediately and he responded again. This time it was Capers favorite target, Zach Chapman, taking a sharply thrown slant 75 yards to the house. Chartiers Valley went for two and came up short, however, sending the game to the half with TJ up 21-19.

After the TJ defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half, Zach Schademan returned a punt 45 yards to the Char-Valley 30. Riding Ryan Ruffing and the ground game, the Jaguars moved the ball to the 10, where Ruffing found the end zone to put TJ up 28-19.

On the very next possession for Char-Valley, what has become a recurring nightmare for the Colts' Capers returned, as he went down with what appeared to be a foot or ankle injury. Capers, whose 2009 and 2010 seasons were both cut short due to injury, did not return.

With Capers on the sideline and Jordan Joseph in behind center, Char-Valley battled for a field goal to pull within six at 28-22.

The Colts continued to battle as the Jaguars turned to their bread and butter, putting the ball in Ruffing's hands. The Char-Valley defense eventually forced TJ to turn the ball over on downs deep in CV territory.

With Capers still watching from the bench, the Jags got the play of the game when defensive tackle Angelo Natter chased down QB Joseph in the end zone for a safety, a 30-22 lead and the ball with a little over five minutes left in the game.

Once again, TJ's experience showed as the Jags knew how to finish off an opponent. With Presto letting Ruffing pound the ball and kill clock, the Jags capped the drive with Tyler Toboz's 20 yard run to make the score 37-22 and clinch their 35th straight conference win.

Ruffing finished the game with 135 yards on the ground.


Join PSR next week as Pittsburgh Central Catholic visits Gateway.

See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Penguins TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Penguins TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3Penguins TV Channel
Josh Bell had not hit a walk-off home run since he was a member of the Altoona Curve in 2015. He changed that Friday with a soaring shot for the left field loonies.
Custom 1North Shore Notes
Francisco Cervelli is as passionate about the current state of Venezuela as anybody you'll find. Last month, the Pirates' catcher spoke passionately about the movement, his country's state of affairs and the future of Venezuela.
Custom 2North Shore NotesPress Room
Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard led the way for the Red Wings, who landed Pittsburgh its fourth straight regulation loss.
Blue LineCustom 3Press Room
Monday night was more than a game. For Jameson Taillon, it was another heave in an ongoing push to liberation from a disease that can break down the toughest of men.
Custom 4North Shore NotesPress Room