Rain fell more than an hour before Friday night’s WPIAL quarterfinal playoff game at Trojan Stadium, and it did not take long for the turf to become a muddy mess, which was the perfect recipe for the team wearing the blue and gold. Derry dominated in every aspect of the game en-route to a 46-0 whitewashing of the Central Valley Warriors. CV was coming off an upset win over the top team in the state in Aliquippa, but could not keep up with the weapons that Tim Sweeney’s Trojans threw at them Friday night.
The win sets up a rematch against new conference foe North Catholic, a team that Derry shut out 27-0 several weeks ago at home. That turned out to be the only loss NC suffered all season. Friday nights game will be played at Hempfield High School beginning at 7:30, and it will mark the second time in the past three seasons that the Trojans have played in the WPIAL semifinals. In 2016 they were beaten by Aliquippa. The only other appearance in the semi’s came in 1995 when the Trojans were defeated by a touchdown by conference rival Belle Vernon.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Derry jumped out to a 13-0 lead at halftime on a late touchdown pass from sophomore Paul Koontz to senior Justin Flack. The defense dominated in the final two quarters and the Trojan offensive line wore down NC to gain the shutout. The following week the Trojans would lose their only game this season, a 25-22 loss on the road at Elizabeth Forward. A week after that, NC visited Warrior stadium and left with a dominating 27-0 win, which certainly hurt EF’s chances at seasons end for a higher playoff seed and the outright conference title.
In the Derry win Friday night, it was a historic performance by Flack, who broke the all-time touchdown record set by Tyler Balega just two years ago. Flack rushed for TD numbers 30, 31, and 32, while also running for 174 yards, putting him over the 1,000 yards mark. Fellow senior Onreey Stewart also had an outstanding game running behind the stellar offensive line. He rushed for 149 yards and two TD’s, including a 68-yard burst after breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage, bringing Trojan fans to their feet. Justin Huss made a beautiful catch for a 25 yard TD from Koontz with under a minute left in the first half to give Derry a commanding 32-0 lead. Senior Colton Nemcheck joined the TD parade in the final quarter adding a powerful 10-yard jaunt. Once again the Derry defense was stellar to say the least, led by senior’s Dom DeLuca and Hunter Hebenthal and powerful front three led by Nose tackle Justin Fallat, along with Max Malis, Gavin Adams and Cullen Shawley. Nemcheck was also a terror on the defensive side making tackle from sideline to sideline all night long, frustrating Central Valley throughout the night. By games end, The team walked off the field to the schools alma mater, and for the 14 seniors who played their final game on Trojan Stadium turf, they not only left with an impressive win, but also keep their dreams of a WPIAL championship alive.