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September 25, 2009Pittsburgh Central Catholic sophomore running back sensation Damion Jones-Moore made a promise to his offensive lineman prior to Thursday night's game at Upper St. Clair.
You do your jobs, and I'll buy you dinner.
The incentive worked, as the Viking offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and Jones-Moore piled up 211 yards and three touchdowns as Pittsburgh Central Catholic (3-1) knocked off previously undefeated Upper St. Clair (3-1), 31-7.
"Yeah, I told them if they had a good game that I'd get them something," Jones-Moore told a television reporter after the game. "So I guess I owe them."
It took a while, however, for the Central Catholic offense to get going. After being handed prime field position after Upper St. Clair fumbled the ball away on its first offensive play of the game, the Vikings set up inside the Panther 20 yard line but managed to come away with just a field goal.
But the Vikings were dominating the field position battle from early on, which eventually paid off with a huge second quarter.
After Upper St. Clair's David Court missed a 40-yard field goal attempt, his first miss on the season, Central Catholic capitalized, driving 77 yards on seven plays, capped by Jones-Moore's first touchdown of the night, a 4-yard run around the left tackle.
On Upper St. Clair's next possession, Central Catholic lineman Jordan Elliot knocked the ball out of quarterback Alex Park's hand, forcing a turnover. The Vikings wasted no time capitalizing as on the very next play as quarterback David Smyers connected with receiver Dustin Lowman on a 25-yard touchdown and suddenly momentum had swung completely to the Central Catholic sideline as they led 17-0.
It was a complete reversal of the Vikings' performance from the previous Saturday, where they had been outscored 30-0 in the first half by Mt. Lebanon.
"I'm proud of the kids, I really am," Central Catholic coach Terry Totten told reporters after the game. "The Central Catholic spirit runs pretty deep. Last Saturday afternoon it took a long nap, but they rebounded Sunday and Monday and got after it. We're thrilled with the effort right from the get-go."
From there, the Vikings' offensive line and Jones-Moore took over.
Before the half, Central Catholic put together one more scoring drive, a 5-play, 87 yard march that featured two huge plays - a 37-yard pass from Smyers to receiver Anthony Nixon, and a 38-yard touchdown run straight up the middle by Jones-Moore.
With just under two minutes remaining until the break, Upper St. Clair managed to get on the board with a 5-play, 65-yard drive of its own, also highlighted by a big play as Park connected with tight end Mitchell Fawcett on a crossing route for a 37-yard gain. Park hit Fawcett again on the very next play for an 8-yard touchdown, narrowing the gap to 24-7, but it was the only score the Panthers would be able to muster on the night.
In the second half, as the rain began to fall, the Vikings relied on the ground combination of Jones-Moore and his blocking fullback Dom Maggio as Central Catholic continued to pound the ball.
Jones-Moore added his third touchdown of the night on a 16-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
"(The offensive line) really controlled the line of scrimmage tonight," Totten said. "They were coming off the ball flat back and enabling us to control the football and eat up a lot of clock and get some key first downs."