2018-2019 Game Summaries
The Seneca Valley Raiders advanced to the WPIAL championship game for the second time in the last three years with a 31-14 win over the North Allegheny Tigers on Friday night in the Class 6A semifinals at Newman Stadium. Senior running back Jacob Mineweaser rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Raiders.
After a lengthy opening kickoff return by Percise Colon, and a personal foul penalty by the Raiders, North Allegheny began the game with terrific field position at the SV 22-yard line. Two plays later, North Allegheny junior quarterback Ben Petschke scored on an 8-yard run to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Seneca Valley answered with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that was punctuated on a 9-yard touchdown run by Mineweaser to even the score at 7-7 with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.
North Allegheny’s next drive ended with a bad snap on a punt attempt that resulted in prime field position for Seneca Valley at the NA 19-yard line. The Raiders converted the miscue into points with a 34-yard field goal by Seth Winters for a 10-7 advantage with 3:59 left in the opening stanza.
Seneca Valley extended the lead to 17-7 with 8:32 to play in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Gabe Lawson.
The Tigers struck back late in the second quarter courtesy of a 4-yard touchdown run by Petschke to trim the Raiders lead to 17-14 with 2:09 remaining before halftime. For his efforts in scoring both of NA’s touchdowns, Petschke was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Petschke rushed for 30 yards and passed for 112 yards.
The NA defense prevented any more scoring in the first half thanks to a terrific diving interception by senior safety Nikko Rankin just five seconds prior to intermission.
Late in the third quarter, Seneca Valley hit a big play that swayed the momentum toward the fifth-seeded Raiders. Faced with a 3rd and 20 from their own 24-yard line, Lawson tossed a 51-yard pass to senior tight end Jacob Stebbins, coupled with a personal foul penalty, to reach the NA 12-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lawson hit senior wideout Luke Smith for a 12-yard scoring strike to give SV a 24-14 advantage five seconds into the fourth quarter. Lawson finished the night with an 8 for 13 performance, passing for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception,
On NA’s next drive, Seneca Valley’s Ryan Kristobek intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tigers 38-yard line. Four plays later, Mineweaser trotted into the end zone on an 11-yard run to extend the Seneca Valley lead to 31-14. The Raiders defense added another interception by Josh McLean late in the quarter to close out a 17-point win in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals.
The North Allegheny defense was led by Cade Hoke with 11 tackles, followed by Liam Alker-Connelly with eight stops. Senior lineman Tyler Mangone added a sack.
Seneca Valley improves to 9-3 on the season and advances to the WPIAL championship game to face the Pine-Richland Rams. North Allegheny concludes the year with a 10-1 record. Congratulations to the Tigers and the NA coaching staff for a memorable 2018 season.
Football Summary vs. Seneca Valley, 11-9-18
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The North Allegheny Tigers planted their flag as undefeated Quad County Conference champions in Class 6A with a 27-7 victory over the Pine-Richland Rams on Friday night at Newman Stadium. Trailing 7-0 at halftime, North Allegheny stormed back in the second half with four unanswered touchdowns and limited the Rams to just 174 yards of total offense. Pine-Richland totaled a negative two yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
The Rams best drive of the night came in the first quarter as PR began an 11-play, 60-yard march to the end zone. The drive culminated on the first play of the second quarter on a 1-yard rushing score by quarterback Cole Spencer for a 7-0 lead with 11:55 on the clock.
Pine-Richland had two golden opportunities to add on to the lead in the first half thanks to two fumble recoveries deep in NA territory. However, the Rams could not capitalize on either turnover as the score remained 7-0 at intermission.
The Rams opened the second half with the football but their drive stalled at the North Allegheny 26-yard line. After a turnover on downs by Pine-Richland, the Tigers embarked on a 15-play, 74-yard marathon that concluded on a 12-yard touchdown run by fullback Sam Gelosh to tie the game at 7-7 with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Pine-Richland’s next possession ended in a punt that was returned by Joey Porter Jr. to the NA 48-yard line. Junior tailback Percise Colon opened the drive with a 26-yard run and was tackled by his facemask for additional penalty yardage. After a 5-yard run by Gelosh, junior quarterback Ben Petschke scored on an 8-yard scamper to the end zone for a 14-7 lead with 10:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
North Allegheny continued to impose its will on Pine-Richland in the fourth quarter and gained a strangle hold of the game when senior Ben Maenza broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown run and a 20-7 lead with 6:45 left to play. Maenza ended the night with 141 yards rushing on nine carries.
Down by 13 points and forced to throw, the Rams were bulldozed by the NA pass rush as Spencer was sacked five times on the night. Senior linebacker Cade Hoke led the charge with a team-high 10 tackles and two sacks on his way to Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.
North Allegheny’s offense put the finishing touches on the victory with a 2-yard touchdown run by Petschke with 40 seconds remaining for a 27-7 triumph.
Pine-Richland’s lone source of offense was running back Luke Meckler who rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries. Mekler was forced to leave the game with an injury in the fourth quarter.
With the win, North Allegheny remains undefeated with a 10-0 record and clinches the No. 1 spot in the Class 6A playoffs with an 8-0 conference mark. Pine-Richland slips to 8-2 on the year and 7-1 in conference play. The Rams will be No. 2 seed, and like the Tigers, will have a quarterfinal round bye and a home game in the semifinals.
Football Summary vs. Pine-Richland, 10-26-18
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Class 6A’s fiercest rivalry takes center stage tonight as the undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (9-0) take on the reigning state champion and top-ranked Pine-Richland Rams (8-1). Tonight’s game will decide the regular season champion and top seed in the upcoming Class 6A playoffs. Regardless of the outcome, both teams have secured a quarterfinal round bye and a home game in the WPIAL semifinals.
Following a perfect 16-0 season and PIAA championship last year, the Rams have rolled through the 2018 schedule with their only blemish to national powerhouse IMG Academy in Week Zero. Otherwise, Pine-Richland has not lost to a WPIAL opponent in 20 consecutive games.
With the graduation of Phil Jurkovec, who is now at Notre Dame, the keys to the Pine-Richland offense have been turned over to sophomore Cole Spencer. A PIAA qualifier at 152 pounds in wrestling a year ago, Spencer is a hard-nosed signal caller that has passed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for nearly 500 more. While the young QB has performed admirably, the heart of the Rams offense beats with an offensive line that boasts three future Division I linemen in the form of Mike Dorundo (Ivy League offers), Michael Katic (Indiana) and Andrew Kristofic (Notre Dame). Along with fellow linemen Brian Bails and Tyler Rudduck, the PR lineman have opened holes for junior tailback Luke Meckler, who has rushed for 897 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Pine-Richland offense averages 38 points per game.
On defense, the Rams are sparked by linebacker and Naval Academy recruit, Tyler King. King is the team leader with 52 tackles after pacing the squad with 152 stops a season ago. He was a first-team all-conference pick last season, and senior linebacker Anthony Cerminara was a second-team all-conference selection last season. Pine-Richland’s defense allows 14 points per game.
Winners of nine consecutive games, tied for the second-longest winning streak in the WPIAL, are the Tigers. Like Pine-Richland, North Allegheny is also keyed by its success in the running game and the offensive line. Players like Division I recruit Jacob Lugg, Jack Graham, Ben Grafton, Parker Titsworth, Quinn Rodak and Elijah Boyd have cleared rushing lanes for senior tailback Ben Maenza, the second-leading rusher in Class 6A. Maenza has rushed for 894 yards, just three yards behind Meckler, and 16 touchdowns. Change-of-pace back Percise Colon is a lightning bolt with the football, having rushed for 323 yards and eight scores. A trio of quarterbacks have seen significant time at the position, including Ben Petschke, Gunnar Fischer and Joey Colella. The North Allegheny offense averages 39 points per game.
The North Allegheny defense is a hard-hitting and stingy unit that allows 13 points per game. The Tigers top tackler is senior Cade Hoke with 60 stops on the season. Junior Amosis Porter has pillaged pass pockets to the tune of a team-leading seven sacks, followed by senior lineman Tyler Mangone with 4.5 sacks. In the secondary, senior Corey Melzer boasts a team-high four interceptions. Even though opponents have been scared to throw in his direction in 2018, Penn State commit Joey Porter Jr. has still managed three interceptions on the campaign.
The last time these teams faced off was in the 2017 WPIAL semifinals in which Pine-Richland claimed a 49-25 win. The Rams have won four of the last five meetings.
Kickoff for tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Pine-Richland is slated for 7:00 p.m. at Newman Stadium. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show beginning at 6:40 p.m. The pregame show includes an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.
In a contest involving two storied high school football programs, North Allegheny won its interconference contest with West Allegheny on Friday night by a 26-20 decision. The Tigers special teams blocked three kicks in the game to help keep NA undefeated on the season.
After a three-and-out by both teams to start the game, West Allegheny put together an 11-play, 47-yard march that was spearhead by the “wildcat” formation and tailbacks Paul Newton and Danti Flati. While the running game got the Indians into the red zone, it was a one-handed catch by tight end Mateo Vandamia on a 6-yard touchdown pass by Kam Kruze that put WA in front, 7-0, with 3:43 to play in the first quarter.
North Allegheny marched the football deep into West Allegheny territory on the ensuing possession but the drive ended on an interception by Drevon Baldwin in the end zone. The Indians went three-and-out, however, and on fourth down Gavin Miller’s punt was blocked by NA senior Dante Caputo at the WA 10-yard line. The Tigers scored two plays later on a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Ben Maenza to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:45 to play in the second quarter.
In a strong second quarter by the Tigers, junior Percise Colon scored on a 46-yard scamper to pay dirt and junior Reid Fischer reached the end zone on a 4-yard run to give North Allegheny a 20-7 lead by intermission. The extra point kick failed following the Fischer touchdown.
Another blocked punt by the NA special teams set up a Tigers touchdown late in the third quarter. NA needed only five plays to travel 28 yards, culminating the drive on a 2-yard touchdown run by Kenny Williams for a 26-7 lead. The extra point failed following the Williams score.
West Allegheny managed two touchdown passes by Miller in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 26-20. Miller’s two scoring tosses went to John Rink and Brandon Dale from 4-yards and 2-yards out, respectively. The final touchdown pass to Dale came with just 57 seconds left in the game.
The North Allegheny Sports Network selected Dante Caputo as the Wright Automotive Player of the Game for his tide-turning blocked punt in the second quarter. Caputo also made three tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble.
With the non-conference win, North Allegheny improves to 9-0 on the season. West Allegheny slips to 6-2 on the campaign. The Tigers will host Pine-Richland next week in a showdown for the No. 1-seed in the upcoming Class 6A playoffs. The game can be heard as always on the NA Sport Network and is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
By Jonathan Spina
The scoring came early and often as North Allegheny score 42 of their 49 points in the first half leading to a 49-27 victory over the Hempfield Spartans on Friday night. With the win, North Allegheny has solidified a top two seed in Class 6A, securing them a first round bye and a home game in the WPIAL semifinals.
North Allegheny got the perfect start when Percise Colon took the opening kickoff 85 yards to the house. The conversion failed but 13 seconds into game North Allegheny had a 6-0 lead. Hempfield began to drive on their first possession, but while in Tiger territory there was a fumbled handoff and Cade Hoke pounced on the loose football giving the Tigers the ball back. Ben Petschke then found Khalil Dinkins for the second straight week on a 48-yard pitch and catch. Petschke and Dinkins then connected on the 2-point conversion and North Allegheny’s lead extended to 14-0. With 3:43 left in the first quarter, the Tiger defense once again made a big play when Hempfield was in their territory. Luke Collela got his first interception of the year, stalling another Spartan drive. Ben Maenza then finished North Allegheny’s drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, his 14th of the season. Issac West converted the extra point and after a quarter of play North Allegheny had a 21-0 lead.
The beginning of the second quarter was much of the same. After a beautiful punt by Hempfield’s Blake Ramaley put North Allegheny on their own 4-yard line, Maenza took the ball 96 yards on the first play of the drive for his second touchdown of the night making the score 28-0. After another stop by the Tiger defense it was the air attack that dominated the next drive, finished off with a 53-yard connection from Petschke to Colella for six and the lead extended to 35-0. Colon got back into the endzone with under two minutes left in the half from 14 yards out. Drew Jefferies came on to kick the extra point and made it 42-0. Hempfield picked up two late touchdowns before the half to cut the North Allegheny led 42-13.
After a sluggish finish to the first half, North Allegheny’s defense set the tone for the third quarter when Nathan Kerber forced a fumble on Hempfield’s first drive which was recovered by North Allegheny. The offense once again turned a turnover into points when Colon scored from 23 yards out making the score 49-13. Hempfield got two more scores in the fourth quarter but it was a day dominated by the Tigers, ultimately winning the game 49-27.
Colon was the Wright Automotive Player of the Game with 140 total yards, three total touchdowns and a blocked extra point.
Petsche finished 3 for 5 with 134 yards and two touchdowns. Maenza had five carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Ethan Augustine led the defense with nine tackles and a sack. Justus Gildon had five tackles and Corey Melzer had four.
The Tigers improve to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the conference. They will be back in action next Friday for non-conference action on the road against West Allegheny (6-1). Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and as always can be heard right here on the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Football Summary vs. Hempfield, 10-12-18
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