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NORTH ALLEGHENY VARSITY FOOTBALL
TIGERS HAND SHALER FIRST LOSS, 28-17
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The Tigers built a 28-3 lead on their way to a 28-17 victory at Shaler on Friday night in a Northern Six Conference contest. Junior halfback Matt Steinbeck scored a pair of touchdowns, one of a 90-yard kickoff return, the other on a 68-yard pass from senior QB Justin Brozick. Junior tailback Alex Papson added a pair of three-yard runs for scores for the winning Tigers.
After the kickoff was returned by the Titans to the 23, the NA defense forced a punt by John Holtz that Steinbeck caught on a fair catch at the NA 39. Papson ran left for four and up the middle for five more to the 49. On the next play, Papson ran the right side for nine and a first down at the Titan 47. On the next play, Brozick threw to senior halfback Grant Huckestein in the left flat and the Tiger senior cut back across the middle for a gain of fifteen but fumbled the ball with Shaler recovering at their 31. The Titans then went on a long drive that resulted in a field goal. On first down, QB Tyler Bills hit a wide open Jesse Della Valle for a gain of 24 and a first down at the NA 45. Titan RB Matt Ramey followed with a gain of 16 on the next two plays and another first down at the Tiger 29. After a holding call moved the ball back to the 38, Ramey got six back. On the next play, Bills found WR Sean Gavin for a gain of 19 and a first down at the Tiger 8. On a third and one, fullback John Orr ran left for nine yards giving the Titans a first and goal at the NA three. The Tiger defense hit Ramey for a loss of two and an incomplete pass brought up a third and goal at the 5. On the next play, Ramey was stopped for no gain. On fourth down, Steve Hamilton lifted a field goal just inside the left upright to give Shaler a 3-0 lead with 3:03 remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, Steinbeck took the ball at the ten, raced up the middle and cut to the sideline and raced the 90 yards to give NA the lead. Senior PK Jackson Cox added the point as it took the Tigers just 14 seconds to take a 7-3 lead. After Gavin returned the kickoff to the 27, a second down run by Ramey got ten and a first down at the Shaler 40. On a third and three, Della Valle ran left for seven and another first down at the NA 46. Holtz followed with a run of nine as the quarter ended with the Tigers holding the 7-3 advantage.
On the first play of the second quarter, Bills threw down the middle to an open Holtz who took it to the NA 8 giving the Titans a first and goal. Della Valle was then hit for a loss of two. After an incomplete pass, Bills hit Gavin in the end zone, but the Titans were called on a procedure penalty nullifying the score. On third and fifteen, senior LB Gary Allen knocked down a pass down the middle with senior CB Zach Runzo barely missing a diving interception. Hamilton came in to attempt a 33-yard field goal, but his kick was wide left and short. The Tigers took over at the 20. After Huckestein picked up four on first down, Brozick threw to junior WR Dan Slivka in the right flat with Slivka picking up nine and a first down at the 33. Huckestein then ran the left side for 13 more and a first down at the 46. A holding call then moved the ball back to the 40. On the next play, Brozick was sacked by Zach Schram for a loss to the 33. After an incomplete pass, Brozick punted and got a good roll all the way to the Shaler 17, a punt of 50 yards. After three plays lost six yards, Holtz punted to Steinbeck who made a good catch of the ball and returned it for 13 yards to the Shaler 32. After two plays gained only 3 yards, Brozick found Steinbeck open over the middle with the NA junior racing all the way to the Titan 3. On the next play, Papson ran the right side and scored just getting the ball over the goal line. Cox added the point as the Tigers took a 14-3 lead with 3:41 left. After Della Valle returned the kickoff to the Shaler 34, Two running plays by Della Valle got a first down at the 45. Senior Ryan Kelly then caught Bills on a scramble for no gain. On the next play, senior LB Jon Lowery stopped Della Valle at the line of scrimmage. A third down incomplete pass forced a Holtz punt that Steinbeck returned for five yards to the NA 35. A personal foul against the Titans moved the ball to the 45. On first down, Brozick threw again to Steinbeck who was tackled at the Titan 30 with 1:24 remaining in the half. After an incomplete pass, Brozick was called for intentional grounding moving the ball back to the 35. Papson then ran for nine to the 26 where NA Coach Art Walker called a time out. On the next play, Brozick scrambled down the left side for eleven to the 25. After another NA time out, Cox was sent in to attempt a field goal. The Titans got a hand on the kick and it rolled toward the Shaler goal where it was picked up by lineman Jamal Conroy who ran it back to the Shaler 25. Orr ran up the middle for three as time ran out in the half. The Tigers took a 14-3 lead to the intermission in spite of Shaler holding a 16:38 to 7:22 lead in time of possession.
Senior RB David Humphrey ran the second half kickoff back for 26 yards to the NA 36. After Papson gained five on first down, the Tiger junior got six more on the next play for a first down at the NA 47. Huckestein then picked up six before rambling for 17 more and a first down at the Shaler 30. On the next play, Brozick did not get the snap and Shaler recovered at their 29. The Tiger defense forced a three and out with Holtz punting to Steinbeck who made a fair catch at the NA 37. After two plays were stopped for no gain, a Tiger completion was negated with an NA lineman called downfield. After a five yard penalty moved the ball to the 32, Brozick lofted a perfect pass to a wide open Steinbeck down the left sideline and the Tiger junior raced untouched into the end zone. Cox again was perfect on the point as the Tigers extended the lead to 21-3 with 7:07 left in the quarter. After the kickoff was returned to the SA 21 by Sean Miller, Bills completed a third down pass to Della Valle for a first down at the Titan 48. Three straight incomplete passes forced a Holtz punt that Steinbeck caught on a fair catch at the NA 17. On a third and four, Brozick scrambled around the right side for a gain of 18 and a first down at the Tiger 41. On second and eight, Steinbeck ran left for ten and another first down at the Shaler 47. After Papson got five on first down, the Tiger junior ran left for nine more and a first down at the Titan 33. Huckestein ran up the middle for six to the 27 as the quarter ended with the Tigers holding the 21-3 lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, it was Papson left for niner and a first down at the Titan 18. After Huckestein picked up five on first down, Papson ran up the middle and cut to his left for a gain of nine more and a first and goal at the Titan 4. On a second and goal from the three, Papson ran around the right side and outraced the Titan defenders into the end zone. Cox drilled the point to give NA a commanding 28-3 lead with 9:57 on the fourth quarter clock. The drive was vintage NA covering 83 yards in 13 plays. After Jeremy Keenan returned the kickoff to the 32, Shaler went on their longest drive of the game. On first down, senior LB Kyle Higgins stopped Ramey for no gain. On a third and ten, Bills connected with Gavin for a gain of eleven. The Tigers were called for a personal foul after the play adding fifteen more yards and moving the ball to the NA 42. Allen then broke through to sack Bills for a loss of seven. On a third down and ten, Bills hit Gavin again with a face mask on NA giving the Titans a first down at the Tiger 31. On again, Allen came through to sack Bills for a loss of four. After two plays gained 12 yards, Bills was able to pick up a first down on a fourth down quarterback sneak. A pass to TE Michael Ferraro picked up nine to the NA 12, senior CB Blair Plivelic broke and almost intercepted a pass down the middle. Ramey was able to get a first down on the next play even though he took a big hit from junior LB Kevin Cope. After Kelly hit Ramey for a loss of two, a motion penalty against the Titans moved the ball back to the 17. On the next play, Bills floated a high pass into the right corner of the end zone where Della Valle made a tough catch for the first Shaler touchdown on the game. Hamilton converted as the Titans cut the lead to 28-10 with just 3:14 left. Shaler attempted an on side kick and somehow came up with the ball at the NA 34. After a personal foul on the Titans moved it back to the 49, Runzo made a diving interception as he picked off his fourth pass of the year at the NA 32. After junior QB Michael Buchert ran for 14, a holding call brought it back to the NA 35. On the next play, Humphrey ran the right side but lost the ball where Benjamin Bocka picked it up and ran all the way to the NA 20 before being caught from behind by junior WR Lucas Hook. After Higgins dropped Ramey for a loss of four, Bills threw to his fullback Orr at the NA 5 where the Shaler back was able to drag NA tacklers into the end zone. After Hamilton kicked the point, Shaler had cut the lead to 28-17 with just 1:17 remaining. The Titans tried another on side kick but the Tigers got this one at the NA 47. On first down, Papson ran for six before Shaler called a time out. On the next play, Huckestein got nine and a first down at the Shaler 39. After another Shaler time out, Brozick gained one on a quarterback sneak. With Shaler allowing the clock to run, Brozick took a knee as time ran out. The Tigers went home with a 28-17 victory.
It was another good team victory for the Tigers with contributions from a number of players. Papson finished with 91 yards rushing on 17 carries while Huckestein added 68 on 13 runs. Brozick threw only seven passes but completed five for 142 yards including a touchdown. It was Steinbeck who had another great night, however. The Tiger running back caught three passes for 117 yards and a score, ran once for ten yard, ran back a kickoff for 90 yards and a score, and two punts for 17 yards. In all, Matt Steinbeck piled up 234 all purpose yards and for his efforts was named the Player of the Game by the North Allegheny Sports Network. Defensively, Higgins led the way with nine solo and two assisted tackles while Allen and Steinbeck (yes, he played well on defense, too) added six solo tackles each.
With the win, the Tigers extended their lead in the all-time series to 34-19-1. The Titans again gave a good effort, particularly in the first half when they outgained NA by a 155-134 margin. The Tigers took over in the second half, however, and controlled the game until the mistakes in the last several minutes. Shaler has won only once since 1986, a 17-0 win in 2003 at Newman Stadium. It has been an incredible streak with the Tigers defeating some good Shaler teams over the years. The last Shaler win at home was in 1985, a 24-6 victory. The series will resume again next year with a Northern Six Conference game at Newman Stadium.
win, the Tigers moved into sole possession of first place in the conference
with a 2-0 record while their overall season record improved to 5-1. NA
will host Pine-Richland next Friday night in the annual Homecoming Game at
Newman Stadium. The North Allegheny Sports Network will be there to
broadcast the game LIVE on the internet beginning with the pre-game show at
7:10 pm. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
Statistics Courtesy of Steve Heckmann
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