Pre-Poll 2016: Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings looks to go back-to-back in PA

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Last season, Pittsburgh Central Catholic was a team with lots of team that began the year ranked #22 in our High School Football America Preseason Top 25.  While an early season loss to North Allegheny in Week 3, dropped the Vikings out of the national rankings, it may also have set the tone for the rest of the season, which ended in mid-December with a 21-18 victory over Parkland, giving PCC its fourth overall Pennsylvania Class 4A state football championship.  That title moved the Vikings back into the Top 25, finishing #24 in our final poll.

As we head toward the start of the 2016 season, the Vikings, once again, find themselves in the mix for national notoriety, as we move toward releasing our preseason Top 25 on August 1st.

Pittsburgh Central Catholic head coach Terry Totten has tons of talent returning from last year’s championship team, including junior quarterback Troy Fisher and his entire offensive line.

Fisher who’s picked-up offers so far from Boston College and Temple, was 145-for-195, according to, with 27 touchdowns.  He also rushed for 525 yards.

Totten says told that Fisher has tremendous leadership skills and is intelligent leader, boasting a 4.6 GPA in the classroom.

The Vikings’ offensive line will be anchored by guard C.J. Thorpe, who’s already given his verbal commitment to Penn State.  The 6-3, 318-pounder is ranked as the seventh best overall college football prospect in Pennsylvania by 247Sports.

Joining Thorpe will be joined by fellow guard Jake Trautman, who was credited with solidifying the offensive line last year when he moved into the starting line-up at the midway point of last season.  Also returning is two-year starter Donavan Slater, who played tackle as a sophomore and center last season.  Rounding-out the offensive front are cousins Jacob and Kurt Hinish, who is a defensive standout who has given his verbal commitment to Notre Dame.  On Sunday, Jacob Hinish gave his verbal to Yale.

In the backfield, Central Catholic will have to replace running back Ronnie Jones, who signed with Toledo.  Last season, Jones rushed for 1,921 yards and 29 touchdowns.  Totten will only have to look as far as last year’s state championship game for Jones’ replacement.

J.J. Younger, who began 2015 as a junior varsity star, rushed for 184 yards on just 14 carries in the championship game win over Parkland.  Younger, a senior, rushed for over 400 yards in a back-up role through the 2015 season.

The Vikings will have to find replacements for four defensive players that signed scholarships with Football Bowl Subdivision schools in February.  Gone are defensive backs Bricen Garner (Pittsburgh) and Damar Hamilin (Pittsburgh), defensive lineman Rashad Wheller (Pittsburgh) and linebacker Ron George (Western Michigan).

Don’t feel too bad for Coach Totten, because he has plenty of talent returning on the defensive side, led by two players that have given their verbal commitments to Notre Dame — inside linebacker David Adams and and the aforementioned defensive tackle Kurt Hinish.  Adams is rated as the third best inside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports.  Hinish is also an offensive tackle.

It was the Viking defense that came-up big at the end of last season.  The defense only gave-up three touchdowns and 28 overall points during its three state playoff wins.

2016 marks a big change across the state as the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association expanded from four to six classifications.  The Vikings will play in 6A, the state’s largest classification.

The Vikings will get a good test right out of the box as they square-off with a very St. John’s College High School out of Washington, D.C. on August 27th.  Last year, SJC went 7-4 and beat Gonzaga that was nationally-ranked at the time.  Another big game for PCC will come about a month later when the Vikings host Pine-Richland.

If Pittsburgh Central Catholic can win a fifth state title this year, it would mean the Vikings would own the most all-time in Pennsylvania’s largest classification.

2016 Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings Football Schedule

8/27 – vs. St. John’s College HS

9/2 – @ Shaler

9/9 – vs. North Allegheny

9/16 – vs. Hempfield Area

9/23 – @ Seneca Valley

9/30 – vs. Pine-Richland

10/7 – @ Butler

10/14 – @ Altoona

10/21 – vs. Norwin

10/28 @ Penn Hills



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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.