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2018-2019 News

Art Walker Big 56 Class 6A Coach of the Year, 15 Tigers Named All-Conference

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Following a 10-1 season and a Quad County Conference championship in Class 6A, the North Allegheny football team had 15 players named to Big 56 Conference all-conference teams. Additionally, head coach Art Walker was recognized as the Class 6A Coach of the Year.

Six Tigers received first-team laurels including senior linemen Jack Graham and Elijah Boyd, senior running back Ben Maenza, senior linebacker Cade Hoke, senior defensive back Joey Porter Jr. and senior punter Isaac West.

Graham and Boyd helped plow open running lanes for Maenza, one of the top rushers in Class 6A, amassing 1,073 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. Hoke was NA’s leading tackler on defense with 86 stops and five sacks. Providing blanket coverage in the secondary, Porter Jr. corralled three interceptions after a seven-interception performance last season as a junior. A player who could tilt the field at any time, West averaged 38.3 yards per punt and pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line eight times on the season.

Second-team honorees included junior running back Percise Colon on offense, and junior Amosis Porter, senior Parker Titsworth and senior Dante Caputo on defense.

Honorable mention picks were junior center Ben Grafton, senior receiver Corey Melzer, junior multi-purpose back Luke Colella, senior defensive tackle Liam Alker-Connelly and senior linebacker Ethan Augustin.

For a complete list of the Big 56 Conference all-conference teams and a first-team photo gallery, click here.

NFL NETWORK FEATURES TIGERS FOOTBALL

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The North Allegheny Tigers football team is being featured on the NFL Network as part of their Football Town in America series.  It is a behind the scenes look at our program and the entire game day experience. Click here to enjoy this unique experience.

NA Hosts Conference Rival Seneca Valley In WPIAL Semifinals Tonight

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Appearing in the WPIAL playoffs for the 15th consecutive season, the North Allegheny Tigers (10-0) begin their quest for a fifth WPIAL title with a Class 6A semifinal battle with conference rival Seneca Valley (8-3) tonight at Newman Stadium. After missing the playoffs last season, Seneca Valley is appearing in the WPIAL semifinals for the second time in the last three years. The Raiders football program has never won a WPIAL championship.

Winners of 10 in a row, the third-longest current streak in the WPIAL, the Tigers were recipients of a quarterfinal round bye last week. Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Seneca Valley rallied from a 14-0 deficit for a 15-14 quarterfinal round victory over Central Catholic last week. Running back Jacob Mineweaser scored the game-winning touchdown for the Raiders on a 12-yard rushing score with over 10 minutes remaining in the contest.

The most recent meeting between these two teams was on Sept. 28 at Newman Stadium which resulted in a 10-6 triumph for the Tigers. In that game, North Allegheny committed four turnovers but survived Seneca Valley with an opportunistic defense of its own. The NA defense permitted only 112 total yards, intercepted two passes and sacked SV quarterback Gabe Lawson three times. In the slugfest, yards came at a premium and junior wideout Luke Colella was the sparkplug. Colella personally outgained Seneca Valley with 149 yards of total offense (101 receiving, 48 rushing) and set up both of NA’s scoring drives. Senior Joey Colella scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard QB keeper with 1:47 remaining in the second quarter. All of the scoring came in the first half for both teams.

The last time North Allegheny and Seneca Valley hooked up in the playoffs was in the 2016 WPIAL semifinals. The Raiders edged the Tigers by a 28-27 decision to reach the WPIAL championship for the first time in 30 years. Aside from the 2016 meeting, the Tigers have dominated the Raiders in the recent playoff history between the two schools, including a 47-17 drubbing of SV in the 2012 semifinals and a 35-10 blowout by the Tigers in the 2011 quarterfinals.

Kickoff for tonight’s WPIAL Class 6A semifinal is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Newman Stadium. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network. The pregame show begins at 7:10 p.m. and will include an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s broadcast, click here.

Cade Hoke Announces Commitment To BYU

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North Allegheny senior linebacker Cade Hoke has tabbed Brigham Young University to continue his academic and collegiate football career. Hoke made the announcement via twitter on Friday.

Through 10 games this season, Hoke is North Allegheny’s team leader in tackles with 73, including 38 solo stops. He is also tied for second on the team with five sacks on the campaign.

After a tremendous sophomore season at linebacker with 48 tackles, Hoke missed all of last season due to injury. A great comeback story, Hoke rehabbed and has returned to full strength for his senior year to help anchor a ferocious Tigers defense that allows a paltry 12 points per game.

Hoke and the Tigers return to action next week in the WPIAL semifinals.

Tigers Visit West Allegheny In Non-Conference Contest

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The North Allegheny Tigers (8-0) visit the West Allegheny Indians (6-1) tonight for a non-conference contest in week nine of the high school football season. The game is a meeting of Class 6A and Class 5A powers that are rich in tradition and WPIAL championships.

West Allegheny is led by head coach Bob Palko, who is in his 24th and final season as head coach. Palko has won over 200 games and eight WPIAL titles, the most of any coach in league history. An interesting storyline of tonight’s game is the history between Palko and North Allegheny head coach Art Walker Jr. Walker got his start in coaching as an assistant under Palko at West Allegheny in the late 1990’s. Since then, Walker has amassed 195 wins and five WPIAL titles while coaching at Central Catholic and North Allegheny. Walker is in his 14th season as NA’s head coach.

A player to watch in tonight’s game for West Allegheny is senior tight end and defensive end, Mateo Vandamia. He is the team leader on defense with 54 tackles and eight sacks. A Big 56 Conference first-team selection at tight end last season, Vandamia is drawing a lot of interest from some small Division I universities.

Also, for West Allegheny, the running back duo of Dante and Nico Flati has been difficult for opponents in 5A to stop this season. Dante has rushed for 652 yards and seven rushing scores and Nico has added 149 yards and a touchdown. Dante Flati is playing at full health this year after sustaining a broken collarbone in 2017 in a non-conference game against Kiski Area that ended his season. Nico Flati and cornerback Kyle Guilfoil were both all-conference honorable mention picks on defense a season ago.

For North Allegheny, the offense is led by senior running back Ben Maenza, who is one of top rushers in Class 6A with 855 yards and 15 touchdowns. Defensively, senior linebacker Cade Hoke leads the team in tackles with 57 stops on the year. Junior linebacker Amosis Porter has a team-high seven sacks, while senior defensive back Corey Melzer boasts a team-best four interceptions, followed by Penn State commit Joey Porter Jr. with three interceptions.

Kickoff for tonight’s non-conference game between North Allegheny and West Allegheny is slated for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show starting at 6:40 p.m. The pregame show includes our weekly interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Tigers Play Host To Butler For Homecoming

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It’s homecoming and a “whiteout night” at Newman Stadium as the undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (6-0) play host to the winless Butler Golden Tornado (0-6) tonight. North Allegheny clinched a playoff berth with a 10-6 win over Seneca Valley last week and boasts a conference record of 5-0. Butler sits at 0-4 in conference play and is coming off a 42-0 loss at the hands of Norwin last Friday.

Butler last made the postseason in 2012 and has not had a winning season since 1997. A junior quarterback on the 1997 squad is now the new head coach of the Golden Tornado, Eric Christy. In his first-year as the head man at Butler, Christy is hoping to rebuild the Golden Tornado. Christy spent the last few seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Despite a brand-new coach, the Golden Tornado have been stuck in neutral this season and have not scored a touchdown since week three. Not only has Butler been shutout for 12 consecutive quarters, the team has not thrown a touchdown pass in over three years. Butler’s offense averages seven points per game, while the defense permits 48 points per contest.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, North Allegheny’s offense averages 36 points per game and the NA defense permits only 11 points per contest. Offensively, the Tigers are led on the ground by senior tailback Ben Maenza with 659 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. In a defensive struggle last week, a sparkplug for the team was junior receiver Luke Colella, hauling in four passes for over 100 yards and also had a crucial 41-yard run in the second quarter to set up NA’s first score. Both of the Tigers’ scoring drives were set up by long plays from Colella.

Another key contributor to last week’s victory over Seneca Valley was punter Isaac West who dropped in three punts inside the 20-yard line. By keeping the field tilted in NA’s favor, West’s kicks allowed the Tigers defense to tee off on Seneca Valley. The Raiders scored a touchdown on their first drive of the game, only to never be heard from for the rest of the night. Senior linebacker Cade Hoke led the team in tackles last week and has a team-best 42 tackles on the season. Senior Joey Porter Jr. made a crucial interception in the fourth quarter and senior Corey Melzer intercepted his team-leading fourth pass of the campaign. For a player profile on Melzer, check out the video below.

Kickoff for tonight’s homecoming contest between North Allegheny and Butler is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live via the internet by the North Allegheny Sports Network, with the pregame show getting underway at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Tigers Visit Mt. Lebanon Tonight For Conference Matchup

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The undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (4-0) travel to Mt. Lebanon tonight for a conference battle with the host Blue Devils (2-2) in Class 6A. North Allegheny is riding a four-game winning streak, most recently beating Canon-McMillan on the road, 45-21. Mt. Lebanon lost last week in a hard-fought contest against Seneca Valley, 17-14.

Tonight’s game is a WPIAL quarterfinal rematch from last season as NA defeated Mt. Lebanon, 38-14. In that game, the Tigers forced quarterback Seth Morgan into four interceptions. The Tigers also defeated the Blue Devils in the regular season, 44-27. Both of those games were played in the South Hills.

Under seventh-year head coach Mike Melnyk, Mt. Lebanon has reached the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons. The Blue Devils utilize a quick-pace offense that is led by Morgan who has thrown for 839 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Morgan also leads the team in rushing with 266 yards on the ground and two scores. The leading receiver for Mt. Lebanon is senior Lucas DeCaro, who has hauled in 15 passes for 166 yards. The versatile DeCaro threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Tim Walters on a reverse pass last week against Seneca Valley. The Blue Devils offense averages 27 points per game.

Mt. Lebanon’s leader on defense is linebacker Tommy McClain with 27 tackles and three sacks. Defensive back Mason Ventrone and linebacker Michael Palmer were both first-team all-conference performers last season. The Blue Devils defense allows 25 points per game.

North Allegheny’s offense is averaging an impressive 43 points per game and scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to solidify a win at Canon-McMillan last week. Senior running back Ben Maenza posted his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season against CM and leads the Tigers with 486 yards and 10 touchdowns so far in 2018. Also, effective rushing the football last week was “wildcat” quarterback Luke Colella with 56 yards rushing. Senior quarterback Gunnar Fisher rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown, adding 98 yards passing and a touchdown through the air against the Big Macs. The Tigers hope to utilize the ground game tonight to maintain lengthy possessions and keep the high-octane Mt. Lebanon offense off the field.

On defense, North Allegheny’s leading tackler is junior Amosis Porter with 21 stops and a team-best four sacks. The Tigers allow only 14 points per game on the season.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Mt. Lebanon. The game will be broadcast live via the internet by the North Allegheny Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Tigers Travel To Canon-McMillan For Conference Clash With Big Macs

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Following a big week two win over Central Catholic, the North Allegheny Tigers (3-0) hope to continue their winning ways with a road game against the Canon-McMillan Big Macs (0-2) in Canonsburg, PA. Tonight’s game is the first meeting between these teams in almost 16 years. In 2002, North Allegheny defeated Canon-McMillan in the opening round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs, 41-6.

The Big Macs have been longtime members of the southern conference in the largest classification, but after realignment for the 2018 season the Big Macs will now have Class 6A conference games against some of the powerhouse teams in the north of Pittsburgh, including North Allegheny.

The Tigers used six turnovers last week to claim an important 27-3 win over Central Catholic. Senior defensive back Corey Melzer intercepted two passes and hauled in a 29-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice. Senior running back Ben Maenza rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns with the majority of his damage coming in the first half.

Canon-McMillan is winless so far in 2018 with a loss to Mt. Lebanon in week one and a 31-0 defeat at the hands of the Seneca Valley Raiders.  On offense, the Big Macs are quarterbacked by junior Jonathan Quinque, who has passed for 308 yards and two touchdowns this season. After a two-year hiatus from football, senior running back Josh O’Hare returned this season and had an impressive debut against Mt. Lebanon, rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior Drew Engel is perhaps Canon-McMillan’s most talented and versatile athlete. He was a first-team all-conference defensive back last season and is the team’s leading receiver with 11 catches for 141 yards. Engel had missed time last season due to a broken hand but posted seven interceptions on defense as a sophomore. Another player to watch for CM is defensive end David Cooper, who had 9.5 sacks last season.

Kickoff for tonight’s game at Big Macs Stadium is slated for 7:00 p.m. 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., including an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s broadcast, click here.

Joey Porter Jr. Announces Commitment To Penn State

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North Allegheny senior Joey Porter Jr., a highly touted Division I recruit, has announced his commitment to Penn State University. Porter made the announcement Tuesday via Twitter.

The standout defensive back recorded a team-high seven interceptions last year, on his way to first-team all-conference laurels in Class 6A. So far this season, Porter has hauled in two touchdown passes at wideout and corralled his first interception last week against Central Catholic.

Porter and the undefeated North Allegheny football team will visit Canon-McMillan on Friday night at 7:00 p.m.

NA Hosts Central Catholic In Class 6A Showdown

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It’s an early-season showdown tonight in Class 6A at Newman Stadium as the second-ranked North Allegheny Tigers (2-0) play host to the third-ranked Central Catholic Vikings (2-0). The Tigers are coming off a 56-14 rout at Norwin last week. Meanwhile, the Vikings earned a hard-fought 20-14 win against Seneca Valley.

A perennial power in the WPIAL’s largest classification, Central Catholic has appeared in five consecutive WPIAL championship games, winning three titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Vikings recipe for success is the same as in years past, boasting a strong rushing attack and hard-nosed defense. Some of the top members of the 2018 squad include cornerback Dominic Dodson, safety Gavin Thomson and linebacker Brian Dallas who all have Division I college offers.  The Vikings are led by 14th-year head coach Terry Totten.

North Allegheny used an outstanding performance from the defense and special teams to spark a blowout win over the Norwin Knights last week. Senior quarterback Gunnar Fisher was the Wright Automotive Player of the Game with 92 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Senior linebacker Dante Caputo racked up four tackles, a sack and a tide-turning blocked punt.

Central Catholic owns a three-game winning streak against North Allegheny, including a 14-7 win last season. The Tigers last victory against the Vikings came in week three of the 2015 season with a 24-17 triumph at home. Riley Trueman’s 28-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining allowed NA to prevail.

Tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Central Catholic kicks off at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show starting at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s broadcast, click here.

Tigers Kickoff Conference Schedule At Norwin Tonight

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Following a dominant win in Week Zero, the North Allegheny Tigers (1-0) open the Class 6A conference schedule with a road game against the Norwin Knights (1-0). The Tigers torpedoed the maiden voyage of the COF Academy Ironmen last Friday by a 45-20 decision. The Knights began the year with an exciting 44-36 victory over neighborhood rival Penn-Trafford.

There’s a lot of excitement in the Norwin camp for the 2018 campaign thanks to a new quick-paced, spread offense and the man who leads it, quarterback Jack Salopek. The junior signal caller was offered a scholarship by the University of Pittsburgh in June and passed for 296 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s win.

Other key returnees for the Knights include senior running back and defensive back Jayvon Thrift, who has offers from Pitt, West Virginia, Syracuse and Indiana as a safety. Senior wideout Gianni Rizzo is a Youngstown State recruit and hauled in a 78-yard touchdown pass against Penn-Trafford.

North Allegheny will try to slow down the Norwin quick-paced attack with a power running game, led by running back Ben Maenza. The senior tailback was the Wright Automotive Player of the Game last Friday against COF Academy with 137 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

The last time these teams met was in the first round of the 2015 WPIAL playoffs. In that postseason game, North Allegheny throttled Norwin, 56-17, at Newman Stadium. It’s been over a decade since the Tigers played the Knights on the road. In 2005, North Allegheny won at Norwin, 27-7, in a week two matchup.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:00 p.m. The North Allegheny Sports Network will broadcast the game live, beginning with the pregame show at 6:40 p.m. Listen to tonight’s broadcast by clicking here.

Tigers Kickoff 2018 Season Tonight Against COF Academy

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The 2018 season kicks off for the North Allegheny football team tonight in a week zero non-conference game against COF Academy (OH). The Tigers are looking to build on an 8-4 campaign in 2017 and a second straight appearance in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals. COF Academy is a first-year program in the Columbus, Ohio region with a tough schedule against some national powers.

While tonight’s opponent is a bit of a mystery, the Tigers will have some questions that need to be answered as well. With the graduation of the team’s leading passer and rusher from a season ago, Luke Trueman, North Allegheny will turn to Ben Petschke and Gunnar Fisher at the QB position. The two were involved in a healthy quarterback competition this summer. With a good grasp of the offense after spending time as Trueman’s backup last season, Petschke is the likely candidate to get the starting nod tonight. Fisher will likely see time along the way as well this season.

At running back, the leading returning ball carrier is speedster Ben Maenza, who rushed for 526 yards last season and eight touchdowns. A versatile player who can line up at various positions on offense, Maenza will pace a backfield that will also consist of Nikko Rankin, and fullbacks Alfonso Cantu and Sam Gelosh.

Junior Luke Colella and seniors Joey Porter Jr. and Corey Melzer all saw time at receiver last season and will be counted on in 2018.

The offensive line sees the return of Elijah Boyd and Parker Titsworth, both of whom missed most of last season due to injury. Junior Jacob Lugg, the younger brother of Notre Dame lineman Josh Lugg, will anchor the left tackle position. Jack Graham, Austin Heubner, Ben Grafton, Paolo Bochicchio and Quinn Rodak should also be a part of the team’s efforts in the trenches. The tight end position will be handled by Sam Sheridan and Amosis Porter.

Perhaps the most experienced part of this year’s North Allegheny squad is the defense, headlined by first-team all-conference cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who collected a team-high seven interceptions a year ago. Joining Porter in the secondary is Rankin (second-team all-conference), Colella, Melzer (all-conference honorable mention), Percise Colon, Joshua Dozier and Justus Gildon.

At linebacker, North Allegheny’s leading tackler Dante Caputo is back after making 71 stops last season. Caputo, a second-team all-conference pick last season, was also tied for the team lead in sacks in 2017 with senior Ethan Augustin, who both pillaged pass pockets for four sacks apiece. After missing all of last season due to injury, senior Cade Hoke returns at inside linebacker. As a sophomore in 2016, Hoke collected 48 tackles and a team-best seven sacks. Other players hoping to make waves at linebacker include Amosis Porter and junior Reid Fisher.

Several players will rotate on the defensive line, including Titsworth, Bochicchio, Sheridan, Liam Alker-Connelly and Tyler Mangone.

On special teams, senior Isaac West takes over the kicking duties as the primary place kicker and punter.

North Allegheny is coached by Art Walker Jr., beginning his 14th season as head coach of the Tigers. Walker, who also coached seven successful seasons at Central Catholic prior to coming to NA, has a career record of 187-57 with five WPIAL championships and six title game appearances.

Tonight’s season opener between North Allegheny and COF Academy kicks off at 7:30 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 7:10 p.m. Listen live to tonight’s broadcast by clicking here.