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WALKER SELECTED AS NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR
(1/15/13) North Allegheny head football coach Art Walker has been named the National Coach of the Year by the National Sports News Service. The award has been handed out annually since 1970 and Walker is only the third Pennsylvania coach to ever win the award. For more on Coach Walker's national recognition, click here!
In addition to Walker's national award, NA's coach was named the East Regional Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly. Under Coach Walker’s tutelage, the Tigers won their third straight WPIAL championships this season and second PIAA title within the last three years. The 2012 NA football team capped a perfect 16-0 season with a 63-28 blowout win over Coatesville in the State Championship game, setting numerous PIAA records in the process.
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SIX TIGERS NAMED ALL-STATE, LEFTWICH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Football Team has been released and six North Allegheny Tigers are on the list, including quarterback Mack Leftwich who was named the Quad-A State Player of the Year. Leftwich became only the third quarterback in WPIAL history to throw for over 3,000 yards this season and achieved over 7,000 yards of total offense over the past two seasons. Leftwich’s favorite target, Gregg Garrity was also named to the All-State team. Other Tigers included on the all-state team included offensive lineman Patrick Kugler, tight-end Zack Lyon, defensive back Brendan Coniker and defensive lineman Jeremy Gonzales.
In addition to the All-State Team, there were numerous Tigers who received All-Conference laurels in the Northern Eight. Along with the six named above, running back Alex DeCiantis, linebacker Kevin Edwards and defensive back Elijah Zeise were named to the all-conference team, giving the Tigers nine representatives on the Northern Eight's list.
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TIGERS CRUSH COATESVILLE FOR PIAA TITLE, SPOT IN RECORD BOOK
The North Allegheny Tigers claimed their second PIAA Championship within the last three seasons with a 63-28 blowout win over the Coatesville Red Raiders on Saturday night at Hershey Park Stadium. The Tigers defense hounded Coatesville quarterback Emmett Hunt by sacking him three times and forcing the Red Raiders offense into four turnovers. The NA defense personally converted two of those turnovers into touchdowns to help the Tigers to a 21-0 first quarter lead. In all, the Tigers outgained the Red Raiders 462-277 and set a new PIAA Championship Game record by scoring 63 points. The contest also set a new record for most points scored in a game combined.
The Tigers record breaking night began early when NA marched the football 71 yards on their opening possession for a touchdown, capping the drive on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Mack Leftwich to tight-end Skyler Cox for a quick 7-0 lead. The Coatesville offense, hoping to respond to the Tigers touchdown, instead coughed up the football for a costly turnover. Dre Boggs caught a screen pass at the NA 20-yard line and was stripped of the football by linebacker Layne Skundrich. NA’s Brendan Coniker scooped up the loose ball and raced 80-yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead. The Red Raiders next possession ended the same way as their first. This time, Hunt was sacked and stripped by Zach Lyon, allowing linebacker Kevin Edwards to corral the fumble and rumble 45-yards for another defensive touchdown for the Tigers. Before the Coatesville quick-strike offense could develop a rhythm, the Red Raiders trailed 21-0 with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter.
Following a 60-yard kickoff return by Isaiah Flamer to the NA 6-yard line, Coatesville touched the scoreboard on a 1-yd quarterback sneak by Hunt to cut the score to 21-7. Prior to the end of the first quarter, the Tigers offense would score again on a Leftwich 5-yd run for a 28-7. The 28 points scored by North Allegheny tied the PIAA Quad-A championship game record for most points scored in a quarter.
The Tigers added on to their lead with 5:35 to go in the second quarter when tailback Alex DeCiantis powered his way to a 22-yard touchdown run, reaching the ball toward the right pylon for the score and a 35-7 advantage for NA. After a three-and-out by Coatesville, North Allegheny appeared ready to put the dagger in the Red Raiders late in the second quarter. However, the Coatesville defense kept their hopes alive by forcing an NA fumble that was recovered by Tyler Burke at the Red Raiders 10-yard line. On the very next play, running back Daquan Worley streaked 90-yards for a touchdown and instant momentum, chipping into the NA lead, 35-14.
Coatesville trimmed the deficit even more to open the third quarter, taking the opening possession of the half 59-yards in eight plays, culminating the drive on a 1-yd quarterback sneak by Hunt. Hunt’s touchdown made it a two-score ballgame at 35-21, Tigers. While the Coatesville offense was starting to get on track, their defense still couldn’t contain the North Allegheny attack. Promptly responding to the Red Raiders touchdown, Leftwich tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gregg Garrity to increase the NA lead to 42-21. With Coatesville threatening to score again, Edwards intercepted a Hunt pass and covered 50-yards on the return to the Red Raiders 25-yard line. The pick by Edwards proved to be Coatesville’s final undoing as the Tigers scored just six plays later on a 1-yd rushing touchdown by DeCiantis for a 49-21 lead. Because of his fumble return for a touchdown and a huge momentum shifting interception, Edwards was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.
North Allegheny put the finishing touches on their state championship with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. On his way toward a 117 yard rushing performance, DeCiantis scored his third touchdown of the night on another 1-yard plunge to balloon the lead to 56-21. With 4:32 to go in the game, fullback Nick Cully scored on a 60-yard jaunt. Coatesville capped the scoring with a meaningless touchdown to bring the final to 63-28, Tigers.
North Allegheny’s astonishing performance finishes a perfect season for the Tigers at 16-0. Considering the strength of schedule and the way North Allegheny dominated each opponent, this will be a Tigers team that not only will be remembered as one of the greatest of all-time in the state of Pennsylvania. Congratulations to the NA football team, coaches and staff!
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TIGERS CHARGE INTO HERSHEY FOR STATE TITLE CLASH WITH COATESVILLE
On Saturday night in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the North Allegheny Tigers (15-0) have a chance to win their second PIAA championship in the last three seasons. To get it done, the Tigers will have to beat the Coatesville Red Raiders (13-2), the District 1 Champions. Despite coming from opposite ends of the state, the two teams are similar. Both have punished opponents en route to the PIAA title game and both possess explosive offenses that can score from anywhere on the field.
Another major similarity is star power at quarterback. North Allegheny’s Mack Leftwich is only the third quarterback in WPIAL history to throw for over 3,000 yards, and has added another 463 rushing yards. Leftwich, who committed earlier this week to UTEP, has tossed 43 touchdown passes to just four interceptions, also running for 10 scores on the ground. Those gaudy numbers are impressive, but Coatesville’s Emmett Hunt has similar totals, and like Leftwich, boasts a rifle arm that can hit his speedy targets deep downfield. Hunt, who is also receiving D-I looks but is still undecided, has passed for 2,982 yards and 43 touchdowns, while throwing just three interceptions. Leftwich leads an offense that averages 41 points per game and Hunt leads a unit that averages 43 points per game.
While the quarterbacks are the focal point, both teams own a bounty of talented runners and receivers. Along with a big offensive line, anchored by Michigan recruit Patrick Kugler, the Tigers have 1,000 yard rusher Alex DeCiantis who was key in the Tigers 45-10 win over Wilson last week. DeCiantis rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown, helping NA control the ball and the game. Coatesville has an electric runner in Dequan Worley who has rushed for 1, 599 yards and 29 touchdowns, leaving defenders in his dust with his track and field speed. Worley competes in the 55, 100 and 200 Meter Dash on the Red Raiders track team.
In the passing attack, Leftwich utilizes tight-ends Zach Lyon, Skyler Cox and Kevin Edwards. Along with the muscle they provide on running plays, the tight-end trio has combined for over 700 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. At receiver, burners Brendan Coniker and Elijah Zeise have combined for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns while possession receiver Gregg Garrity is the top target for Leftwich, pulling in 62 passes for 1,185 yards and 17 touchdowns. For the Hunt and the Red Raiders, Chris Jones is the leading receiver with 68 receptions and 1,490 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, Jones is just one of several speedsters that handle the football out of Coach Matt Ortega’s spread style offense.
After a 2-2 start to the season, Ortega made a change from a power rushing attack, similar to others in District 1, to a spread attack that allows is ultra-fast skill players to make big plays in space. This change in offensively philosophy has spurred the Red Raiders on their current 11 game winning streak. Ortega, in his fourth season at Coatesville, has turned the program around as the Red Raiders are making their first ever PIAA title game appearance.
As evidenced by the mountain of stats and touchdowns scored by both teams, the offenses for North Allegheny and Coatesville have had little trouble scoring this season. The key to Saturday’s PIAA Quad-A Championship Game will be defense. Coatesville has allowed an average of 19 points per game and gave up 35 points last week, outlasting LaSalle College High School in the PIAA Semifinals by a 42-35 score. Despite allowing a healthy amount of points, the Red Raiders do a great job of forcing turnovers and scoring off those turnovers as well. Junior linebacker Tyler Burke is a D-I recruit who has received offers from Boston College, North Carolina State and Maryland.
The Tigers boast the stingiest defense from the WPIAL in Quad-A, allowing just over eight points per game. Lineman Jeremy Gonzales has been on a monster with 12 sacks, linebacker Kevin Edwards leads NA with 88 tackles and defensive back Elijah Zeise has pirated three enemy passes this season.
In a game where both offenses are likely to score their fair share of points, determining the victor will depend on which defense forces turnovers and hounds the opposing quarterback into the occasional big sack and mistake. Kickoff for Saturday night’s PIAA Championship Game is slated for 6:00 pm at Hershey Park Stadium. As always, the game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pre-game show getting underway at 5:30 pm, featuring interviews with North Allegheny head coach Art Walker and Coatesville head coach Matt Ortega.
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WPIAL FOOTBALL - 2012
The Tigers will compete again in the WPIAL in Quad A along with 25 other teams. Championship play will begin in the tenth week (Nov. 2 – Nov. 3) with a sixteen-team bracket in each classification as detailed below and determined by the WPIAL Tie-Breaker System. The tournament will culminate with the four classification championships at Heinz Field (tentatively) on either Saturday, November 24, or Friday November 23, 2012. The WPIAL Tie-Breaker System will be used to determine section championship, play-off entry, and home-field assignment where applicable. If teams tie in section record for the section championship, they will be declared champions and each will receive a section plaque. The possibility exists that teams from the same section may play each other as early as the first round.
WPIAL FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SYSTEM
* - Only section records are used to determine playoff teams.
(PLEASE REMEMBER, THE TIEBREAKING SYSTEM REVERTS BACK TO HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPETITION WHENEVER POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS. EXAMPLES ARE LISTED BELOW)
WPIAL PLAYOFF TIEBREAKER SYSTEMS AND EXPLANATIONS
PLEASE REMEMBER THE TIEBREAKING SYSTEM REVERTS BACK TO HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPETITION WHENEVER
POSSIBLE THROUGH THE PROCESS. EXAMPLES ARE LISTED BELOW.
CLASS AAAA AND AAA WILD-CARD SYSTEM
In Class AAAA only (because one section has eight teams and the other two have nine), the sixth-place teams (wild card) and third-place teams (home field) in Section 2 and 3 will count only their seven "best" section games.
To determine the wild-card teams, and the two third-place teams in each class that will earn home-field in first-round games, the following system will be used:
1. Section record
In Class AAAA and AAA, non-section head-to-head competition is an applicable tiebreaker only in this situation: Team A, B and C, all from different sections, are tied in section records. Either Gardner Points or WPIAL point-differential system eliminates Team A, then head-to-head competition in a non-section game (if applicable) would determine the winner between Team B and Team C.
WPIAL CLASS AAAA - 26 TEAMS
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Any questions or comments should be directed to Athletic Director