Tigers Ground Black Hawks In WPIAL First Round, 28-0

Posted on:

Senior running back Isaac Weaver rushed for three second half touchdowns and the North Allegheny defense pitched its second consecutive shutout as the reigning three-time WPIAL champion Tigers blanked the Bethel Park Blackhawks, 28-0, in the opening round of the Quad-A playoffs.

The eighth-seeded and host Black Hawks were playing without starting quarterback Levi Metheny who donned a large cast on his right arm during pre-game warm ups as Bethel Park turned to senior Sam Polen as the starting signal caller.  Midway through the first quarter, Polen and the Black Hawks marched the football on a 10-play drive to the North Allegheny 3-yard line for a 1st and goal.  Moving the football primarily on the ground on the 39-yard drive, Bethel Park ran three straight times but were stopped at the NA 1-yard line. On 4th and inches, running back Alex Minton was stopped for a 2-yard loss by NA lineman Paul Blendinger and the Tigers defense held for an important goal-line stand.

Early in the second quarter, the Black Hawks appeared to have scored the game’s first touchdown when Minton raced into the end zone for an apparent 28-yard scoring run, but a holding penalty brought the touchdown back keeping the game scoreless.  Bethel Park ultimately turned the football over on downs at the NA 27-yard line with 8:32 to go in the quarter.

As the defensive struggle continued, the Tigers mounted a drive with a 4:58 remaining in the first half.  On the march, senior quarterback Cage Galupi made two key completions, a 26-yard pass to tight-end Paul Blendinger and a 35-yard strike to receiver Elijah Zeise at the Bethel Park 1-yard line.  One-play later, Galupi plunged into the end zone on a QB keeper at the Tigers had a 7-0 lead with 1:39 to play in the second quarter.

In the second half, the Tigers took command of the game behind a defense that forced three turnovers and the running of Isaac Weaver. The senior tailback scored on jaunts of 1, 60, and 40-yards to give North Allegheny a 28-0 lead by the 9:12 mark of the fourth quarter. Weaver finished the night with six carries for 121 yards, averaging 20-yards per carry.  For his efforts, Weaver was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Defensively, Layne Skundrich led the Tigers with nine tackles and a sack.  Zach Koegler collected a sack, strip and fumble recovery, to go along with eight tackles.  Reilly Sullivan notched eight tackles with a sack. Senior Giosue Bochicchio also recovered a fumble in the shutout victory. The Tigers held Bethel Park to just 176 yards of total offense.  Running back Alex Minton was a bright spot for the Black Hawks, rushing for 90 yards on 21 carries.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 7-3 on the season, while Bethel Park’s season ends for the second straight year with a loss the Tigers.  Bethel Park finishes 6-4 for the season. Up next for the Tigers are the top-seeded Upper St. Clair Panthers next Friday night.  The site is yet to be determined.  The game will be broadcast live on the North Allegheny Sports Network.

For total team and individual stats, click here.