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NORTH ALLEGHENY VARSITY FOOTBALL

GATEWAY NIPS TIGERS, 28-27, IN OVERTIME

To listen to a replay of the game, click here!

The Tigers dropped a 28-27 heartbreaker to the Gateway Gators in the WPIAL Quad-A semifinals at the Wolvarena in Turtle Creek on Friday night.  The Tigersí two-point conversion that would have won the game in OT came up just inches short.  Junior QB Mike Locke threw three touchdown passes, two to senior WR Geoff Greco with senior RB Karl DeCiantis and junior WR Brian Austin also scoring for the Tigers.  DeCiantis gained 103 yards rushing to pace the NA ground attack. 

After junior Dan Wentz returned the opening kickoff nine yards to the NA 33, the Tigers went on a drive.  DeCiantis ran the ball for eight yards on the first play from scrimmage and added four more up the middle for a first down at the 45.  After DeCiantis picked up eight more on two carries, Greco ran the right side for nine and a first down at the Gateway 38.  A short pass from Greco to Austin got five more to the 34.  On the next play, senior FB Zach Watts broke up the middle for 14 and another first down at the Gator 20.  On second and ten, DeCiantis picked up seven to the Gateway to bring up a third and three.  On the next play, Locke fumbled the snap but recovered at the Gator 22.  A fourth down pass fell incomplete, and Gateway took over at their 22.  Three plays lost a yard and Dorian Bellís punt rolled all the way to the NA 24 before it was downed.  After DeCiantis gained two on first down, Locke threw to Austin who was open down the middle, and the Tiger receiver caught the ball in stride and raced into the end zone for a 74-yard passing score.  Senior Justin Facer again was perfect on the conversion as the Tigers took a 7-0 lead with 3:25 left in the quarter.  After senior HB Cameron Saddler returned the kickoff twelve yards to the Gateway 30, sophomore QB Robbie Kalkstein hit senior Leon Green down the middle for a gain of 22 and a first down at the NA 48.  Once again, the Tiger defense was able to contain the Gators holding them to five yards on three plays.  Greco caught Bellís punt at the 10 but fumbled the ball with the Tigers recovering at the NA 5.  On the play, Austin was injured and did not return.  On second and ten, Greco ran around right end for 16 and a first down at the 21.  The quarter ended with the Tigers holding a 7-0 advantage.

As the second quarter began, the Tigers picked up three by senior FB Corey Watts and four more as Locke scrambled to the 27.  On the next play, Greco ran left and picked up a first down at the NA 31.  Greco then hit senior WR Curtis Belcastro for a gain of 38 yards and a first down at the Gateway 31.  After two plays picked up only two yards, the Tigers were called for a false start.  Locke then slipped attempting to pass for a loss of five.  Greco punted from a spread formation with the ball downed at the Gateway 2.  The Gators then went on a 98-yard drive with Saddler carrying the ball eight straight times and finally scoring on a four-yard run.  The Gators were aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty against the Tigers, but Saddler was unstoppable.  Ryan Lichtenstein added the point and the game was tied at 7-7 with 5:22 left in the half.  The Tigers answered quickly to regain the lead.  After Wentz again returned the kickoff to the NA 35, the Tigers went on a 65 yard drive in four plays, all by DeCiantis.  After the Tiger senior picked up 13 yards in two runs and a first down at the NA 48, DeCiantis ran the left side and outraced the Gateway defenders all the way to the Gator 4, a gain of 48 yards.  On the next play, it was DeCiantis again around left end, diving into the end zone with the go ahead touchdown.  Facerís point made it a 14-7 NA lead with 3:13 left.  After Greco kicked off into the end zone, it was Saddler again threatening to tie the game.  On a first and ten from the Gateway 32, Saddler picked up 35 yards, finally being caught from behind by junior Jackson Boyd at the Tiger 33.  On a second and five, Saddler ran for eight more and a first down at the NA 16.  After Saddler got six yards on two plays, the Gateway senior ran around left end to the Tiger 4 where the Gators had a first and goal.  After the Tigers nailed Saddler for a three yard loss, Gateway coach Terry Smith called a time out with 32 seconds remaining.  On the next play, Saddler tried a halfback pass into the end zone, but senior CB Kyle Butson picked it off and returned it to the NA 6.  Greco ended the half by falling on the ball as the Tigers took a 14-7 lead to the intermission.

Greco drilled a low onside kick to start the second half, and senior LB Ty Dixon recovered for the Tigers at the Gateway 46.  Two runs by DeCiantis picked up five yards and an incomplete pass forced a Greco punt that went out of bounds at the Gator 5.  On a second and nine, Kalkstein threw to junior Brian Williams for 29 yards and a first down at the Gateway 35.  After a second down pass to Williams gained seven, Green ran for four and another first down at the NA 47.  After two plays gained seven yards, an incomplete pass brought up a fourth and three.  The Tiger defense stopped Green a yard short and the Tigers took over at their 43.  After DeCiantis gained seven in two plays, Greco tossed a short pass to sophomore Grant Huckestein for seven more and a first down at the Gator 43.  After a procedure call on the Tigers, Lockeís pass down the middle intended for Greco was tipped away by Bell.  Locke then was sacked for a loss of four forcing another Greco punt that was downed at the Gateway 10 with 1:21 remaining in the quarter.  After Saddler got three up the middle, Green took the ball on a reverse, but senior LB Alex Calder stole the ball and returned it to the Gateway 10.  After a running play was stopped at the line of scrimmage, the quarter ended with the Tigers still holding a 14-7 lead.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Locke threw to Greco in the left corner of the end zone as the Tigers opened a two-touchdown lead.  Facer again added the point to make it a 21-7 NA advantage just five seconds into the fourth period.  After Grecoís short kickoff was fumbled and recovered by Shayne Hale at the Gator 27, a personal foul against the Gators moved it back to the Gateway 14.  On the first play, senior CB Christian Totera made a diving interception at the Gateway 47.  Greco ran left for 16 and a first down at the Gator 31.  After two plays lost a yard, Locke was sacked for a four-yard loss back to the Gateway 36.  After an NA time out, Locke was sacked again for a loss of five as Gateway took over at their 41.  Saddler then ran four ten and a first down at the Tiger 49.  Three more runs by Saddler gave the Gators another first down at the NA 28.  After Saddler picked up eight around the left side, Green ran the middle for fourteen and a first and goal at the Tiger 6.  On the next play, Green took it in and Lichtenstein added the point as the Gators cut the NA lead to 21-14 with 6:15 remaining in the quarter.  On the ensuing kickoff, Dixon returned a bouncing ball to the Tiger 40.  On the first play, Greco ran around left end for sixteen and a first down at the Gator 44.  After Greco got three more to the 41, the Tigers were called for a false start.  Greco then threw to Huckestein along the left sideline for a gain of six to the 40.  A draw play to DeCiantis lost three, and Greco punted into the end zone.  Gateway took over at their own 20.  After two plays gained nine yards, a quarterback sneak picked up a first down at the 35.  After an incomplete pass, Gateway took a time out with 3:09 left.  After Saddler gained five, another incomplete pass brought up a fourth and five.  A pass was knocked down by the Tiger secondary, but pass interference gave the Gators a fifteen-yard penalty and a first down at the NA 49.  Saddler was stopped after a gain of one by senior Mike Passodelis and an incomplete pass brought up a third and nine.  Kalkstein was then able to scramble around left end for ten yards and a first down at the NA 39 with 1:46 remaining in the quarter.  On the next play, Kalkstein threw to senior WR Jonathon Pryor who raced to the NA 12.  After Saddler gained four to the eight, the Gateway senior took it into the end zone on the next play.  Lichtensteinís conversion tied the game with 1:00 left.  After Boyd returned the kickoff to the NA 41, Locke tried to find Greco open down the middle but the pass was knocked down.  The Tigers then ran out the clock with two running plays with Zach Watts getting to the Gator 33 as the fourth quarter ended with the teams tied at 21-21.

The Tigers won the toss and elected to start on defense in the overtime period.  On first down, Saddler ran left for seven yards to the NA 3.  After a procedure call against the Gators, Saddler gained back the five yards.  On a second and goal at the three, Saddler took it into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game.  Lichtenstein converted to give the Gators a 28-21 lead with the Tigers turn with the ball coming up.  On the first play, Locke hit Greco in the end zone to cut the lead to one point.  The Gators were called for a penalty moving the ball half the distance to within one and a half yards of the goal line.  After a time out, the Tigers decided to go for the win.  Greco tried to go over the top but was stopped inches short of the goal line.  The Gators were able to take a 28-27 victory.

It was a valiant effort by the Tigers who fought a talented Gateway team on even terms all night long.  The offense was able to pile up 336 total yards including 186 on the ground.  In addition to DeCiantisí 103, Greco added 63 and Zach Watts 40.  In the air, Locke completed four of eight passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns.  Greco was three for four for 52 more yards.  In the end, however, the Tigers never had an answer for Saddler who led all rushers with a total of 340 yards on 34 carries.  When the game was on the line, Saddler answered with three touchdowns.  Once again, the Tiger secondary came up big with a pair of interceptions.  For his efforts on the offensive end, the North Allegheny Sports Network named junior QB Mike Locke as the Player of the Game.

With the loss, the Tigers finish the season with an overall mark of 11-1.  NA was the Northern Five Conference Champion for the second straight year.  The loss marked the second consecutive year that the Tigers have advanced to the WPIAL semifinals.  Gateway will play Central Catholic, a 24-13 winner over McKeesport, in the championship game at Heinz Field on Friday night.

CONGRATULATIONS TO COACH WALKER AND THE TIGERS FOR A GREAT SEASON!!!

GAME SUMMARY
GATEWAY Ė 28  NORTH ALLEGHENY Ė 27

SCORE BY QUARTERS

1

2

3

4

OT

FINAL

Gateway

0

7

0

14

7

28

NORTH ALLEGHENY

7

7

0

7

6

27

INDIVIDUAL SCORING

FIRST QUARTER

 

 

NORTH ALLEGHENY

Brian Austin, 74-yard pass from Mike Locke (Justin Facer, kick)

3:25

SECOND QUARTER

 

 

GATEWAY

Cameron Saddler, 4-yard run (Ryan Lichtenstein, kick)

5:22

NORTH ALLEGHENY

Karl DeCiantis, 4-yard run (Facer, kick)

3:13

THIRD QUARTER

 

 

 

No Scoring

 

FOURTH QUARTER

 

 

NORTH ALLEGHENY

Geoff Greco, 10-yard pass from Locke (Facer, kick)

11:55

GATEWAY

Leon Green, 6-yard run (Lichtenstein, kick)

6:15

GATEWAY

Saddler, 8-yard run (Lichtenstein, kick)

1:00

OVERTIME

 

 

GATEWAY

Saddler, 3-yard run (Lichtenstein, kick)

 

NORTH ALLEGHENY

Greco, 10-yard pass from Locke (run failed)

 

TEAM STATISTICS

NORTH ALLEGHENY

 

GATEWAY

13

First Downs

20

186

Net Yards Rushing

291

39

Rushing Attempts

48

4.8

Avg. per Rush

6.1

150

Net Yards Passing

87

7-12-0

Comp-Att-Int

4-12-2

336

Total Yards

378

51

Total Off. Plays

60

6.6

Avg. Gain per Play

6.3

3-0

Fumbles/Lost

2-2

5-45

Penalties/Yds

3-19

4-39.5

Punts (Number/Avg)

2-44.0

25:46

Possession Time

22:14

0-0

Sacks/No-Yds.

4-21

Statistics Courtesy of Steve Heckmann

 

Any questions or comments should be directed to Athletic Director Bob Bozzuto at:  bbozzuto@northallegheny.org
 

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