NA Looks To Continue Early-Season Surge, Plays Host To Canon-McMillan Tonight
The North Allegheny Tigers (3-0) hope to continue their early-season momentum with a home contest against the Canon-McMillan Big Macs (0-3) tonight at Newman Stadium.
The Tigers are coming off a thrilling 11-10 triumph over Central Catholic last week, keyed by a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown by Percise Colon with 2:55 remaining in the game. Trailing 10-9 after the Colon score, junior Peter Vardzel ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion and an 11-10 lead. The defense put the game away on the next possession, thanks to a Brayden Prekop sack and forced fumble and fumble recovery by Sam Sheridan.
The victory was the 200th career coaching win for NA head coach Art Walker. Coach Walker, and his father Art, who racked up 207 career wins and six WPIAL titles at Mt. Lebanon and Shady Side Academy, are the first father-son combo in state history to win 200 games or more.
Tonight’s opponent is coming off a 27-7 loss to Seneca Valley last week. However, the Big Macs hung tough with the Raiders and trailed by only one touchdown at the half. While CM is 0-3, all three games were against quality foes in Thomas Jefferson, Mt. Lebanon and Seneca Valley.
Despite a tough start to the season, Canon-McMillan is hoping to build off a playoff appearance last season which broke a 10-year postseason drought. Senior quarterback Jonathan Quinque is a three-year starter with an accurate left arm. Quinque has thrown for 628 yards and three touchdowns this season. His top receiver is senior Blake Joseph, who has hauled in 19 passes for 248 yards and three scores out of the slot. Sophomore Ryan Angott is CM’s leading rusher with 155 yards on 36 carries and a touchdown. Angott also has 12 receptions for 113 yards.
Canon-McMillan will try to penetrate an NA defense that has allowed only one touchdown and 10 points all season. The defense has been the strength of the Tigers team through the season’s first three games, allowing a paltry 389 total yards in the three games combined. Junior linebacker Nathan Hoke is the team leader in tackles with 19 stops on the year. Sheridan is tops on the team with 4.5 sacks, followed by Hoke and senior Hayden Sheets with four each. Junior Khalil Dinkins has one interception to pace the unit.
On offense, North Allegheny is led by senior signal caller Ben Petschke with 277 yards passing and two touchdowns. Colon has a team-leading 209 yards on 45 carries and one touchdown. The top receiver is senior Luke Colella with 14 catches for 116 yards, to go along with 28 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The last time North Allegheny faced Canon-McMillan was in week three last season in Washington County. The Tigers led 24-21 in the third quarter before pulling away with three late touchdowns. Running back Ben Maenza rushed for 165 yards and score three second-half touchdowns in the NA win.
Tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Canon-McMillan is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Newman Stadium. The contest will be broadcast live via the internet by the North Allegheny Sports Network. The pregame show begins at 7:10 p.m., including an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s broadcast, click here.