NEW KENSINGSTON, PA – Western PA’s Wildcatz ran their game plan to near perfection on Saturday night in Stars Conference playoff action as they routed the Northeast Ohio Predators 49-6. With the win the Wildcatz advance to next Saturday’s conference championship matchup against the South Buffalo Celtics.
Quarterback Michael Wilson continued his spectacular season for WPA as he had a hand in five of the seven scores by his squad on the day including a trio on the Valley HS turf that totaled 58 yards rushing.
Western PA started their first half scoring bonanza with a three yard touchdown run from Wilson that put them on top 7-0 just minutes into the game and continued in the late stages of the opening quarter when Wilson launched a pass that was hauled in by Bruce Thornton for a 33 yard score to run the advantage to 14-0 WPA.
With the NEO offense forced to punt for a third time in the first half, Wilson went back to work offensively as he finished off a nine play drive which included eight runs with a 35 yard scamper straight through the heart of the defense to put WPA on top by three scores.
Moments after Clark Brooks picked off an errant pass from Predators QB Julian Drish, the Wildcatz offense was at it again as this time Johnny Bynum rumbled into the endzone from two yards out to run the score to 28-0 with 4:12 left in the opening half.
Another interception and a huge return gave the home team the ball back at the two minute warning, and as they have done all season long the WPA offense went into hyperdrive with Wilson tossing a six yard strike to Thornton for their second hookup of the day to push the halftime lead to 35-0.
Out of the halftime break the Predators defense forced a turnover on downs with a big stop on fourth down to procure their own offensive unit a chance to climb back into the contest. Utilizing a nine play drive that began at the WPA 32 yard line, the Predators finally punched in a score as Julian Drish tossed a five yard score to Chris Netters. NEO was unsuccessful on the two point conversion so the game remained at 35-6 mid-way through the third.
Wilson’s last score of the game happened on the next drive, as following a return that allowed his offense to set up shop at midfield, he engineered a four play drive and ran the final 20 yards himself to push the score out to 42-6 near the end of the third.
Known for being rude to opposing Quarterbacks all season long, the WPA defense did just that to Drish on the Predators next possession as they sacked him three times and forced a turnover on downs.
Rapheal Hurd took over for Wilson in the shotgun on the next series and just like his predecessor wasted no time finding the endzone as the speedster from Pittsburgh jaunted past the NEO defense for a 62 yard score to make the lead 49-6.
WPA had one last chance to score on their final drive moments later, but a 43 yard field goal attempt from Kicker Jim Taylor was blocked.
Top seeded Western PA (11-0) with the win will now welcome the South Buffalo Celtics to town next Saturday night for a 7pm kickoff and an opportunity for the winner to host the PAFL Championship Game on August 27th. Earlier this season the Wildcatz were victorious over the Celtics in a hard fought 21-14 regular season clash.
Northeast Ohio sees their 2016 campaign come to an end at 6-7, just the second time in six years that the franchise has finished with a sub .500 record.