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2020-2021 Game Summaries

Central Catholic Outlasts NA in WPIAL Championship, 38-24

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Two preeminent powers in the WPIAL’s largest classification dueled for the first time with a championship at stake and the Central Catholic Vikings outlasted the North Allegheny Tigers, 38-24, at Martorelli Stadium on Friday night in the Class 6A championship game. The Central Catholic defense forced three turnovers and senior Anderson Cynkar had two return touchdowns to propel the Vikings to their second straight WPIAL title.

Appearing in the championship game for the first time since 2012, North Allegheny got off to a quick start as quarterback Greg Phillips hit Mason Kress for a 65-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage and the Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead just 59 seconds into the game. Finishing with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, Kress was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

In a first half that featured plenty of offense, Central Catholic took its initial possession of the game 63 yards but the drive stalled at the NA 7-yard line. The Vikings settled for a Matthew Shearer 24-yard field with 7:36 to play in the first quarter, trimming the Tigers lead to 7-3.

The Tigers responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that culminated on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by senior Nate Hoke for a 14-3 lead with 2:03 to go in the opening stanza.

On the next possession, Central Catholic put together an 11-play, 63-yard drive that was capped on a 5-yard rushing touchdown by senior tailback Eddy Tillman, cutting the NA advantage to 14-10.

With North Allegheny’s offense in high gear in the first half, the Tigers answered with another scoring drive that was spearheaded on the passing of Phillips. The senior quarterback capped the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Khalil Dinkins for a 21-10 lead with 4:38 to play in the first half. Junior receiver Dwayne Taylor also played a prominent role in the passing game with four catches for 44 yards on the night.

The turning point in the contest came on the ensuing kickoff as Cynkar returned the ball 67 yards for a touchdown and the Vikings trailed, 21-17, with 4:29 to go in the second quarter. The Cynkar kickoff return TD swung the pendulum in Central Catholic’s favor and the defense kept the momentum with the Vikings. Two plays into NA’s next possession, linebacker J.D. Younger made a diving interception at the NA 30-yard line. Eight plays later, Tillman plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run and Central Catholic led for the first time, 24-21, with 10 seconds left before intermission.

The Central Catholic defense struck again in the second half when Cynkar intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown and the Vikings lead expanded to 31-21 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.

North Allegheny made it a one-score deficit in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when senior Brandon Persad kicked a 24-yard field goal, bringing the score to 31-24, Vikings, with 10:06 to play.

The next drive for Central Catholic did not yield points but did eat up nearly seven minutes of the fourth quarter. The Tigers defense held strong to force a punt, giving the NA offense one last opportunity to tie the game. Defensive standouts included linebacker Sean Metcalf, who posted a team-high six tackles. Junior cornerback Kolin Dinkins also made an outstanding leaping interception early in the second half.

Pinned back at their own 9-yard line with just over three minutes in regulation following the Central Catholic punt, the Tigers needed a 91-yard touchdown drive to even the score. Instead, the Vikings intercepted their third pass of the game, this time a pick by freshman linebacker Anthony Speca that was returned to the NA 1-yard line. Moments later, Tillman scored his third touchdown of the game on a one-yard run to put the contest out of reach with 2:30 remaining, improving the Central Catholic lead to 38-24. Tillman, who was held to just 17 yards rushing by the Tigers in week three, toted the football 26 times in the championship game for 132 yards.

Central Catholic improves to 6-2 overall and advances to the PIAA quarterfinals. North Allegheny’s season comes to a close with a 6-1 record following its first loss of the campaign. Congratulations to head coach Art Walker, the entire coaching staff and all of the Tigers players for another memorable season.

Football Summary vs. Central Catholic, 11-6-20

GAME SUMMARY     
SCORE BY QUARTERS1234FINAL
Central Catholic3217738
North Allegheny1470324

Tigers Run Roughsod Over Raiders In WPIAL Semifinals

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Photo Gallery by J.J. LaBella

The North Allegheny Tigers punched their ticket to the WPIAL championship game for the first time since 2012 with a 21-7 win over the Seneca Valley Raiders on Friday night at Newman Stadium. In a clash of the top two scoring defenses in Class 6A, it was the North Allegheny defense that dominated the action by limiting Seneca Valley to just 81 total yards of offense. Unable to sustain a drive, the Raiders were only 1 of 10 on third down conversions.

After a scoreless first period, the North Allegheny offense got rolling early in the second quarter thanks to a big play from running back J.R. Burton. Starting at their own 39-yard line, a 59-yard sprint by Burton to the SV 2-yard line set up the game’s first score. After a false start penalty, North Allegheny scored on the next play when senior running back Nate Hoke dove into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 8:37 remaining in the second quarter.

Late in the quarter, North Allegheny put together a 15-play, 71-yard march that was keyed on a fourth down conversion deep in Seneca Valley territory. Faced with a 4th and 7 from the 39-yard line, quarterback Greg Phillips rifled a pass over the middle to a crossing Mason Kress for an 18-yard pick up and first down at the Raiders 11-yard line. A few plays later, Hoke plunged into the end zone for his second touchdown of the night and a 14-0 NA lead with six seconds to go before halftime.

It was more of the same in the third quarter as the NA defense controlled the line of scrimmage, while the Tigers offense churned out more yards on the ground. Late in the third quarter, North Allegheny put together a six play, 71-yard drive that culminated on a 12-yard rushing touchdown by senior Khalil Dinkins for a 21-0 lead with 2:11 left in period.

It appeared the Tigers were on their way to another touchdown drive in the fourth quarter when an NA turnover briefly changed the complexion of the game. A fumble on a pitch out was recovered by Seneca Valley’s Deontae Webb and returned 85 yards for a touchdown, trimming the score to 21-7, Tigers, with 7:57 remaining.

With the Raiders offense held in check all game long, a comeback was not in the cards for Seneca Valley. On the Raiders last-gasp drive, Hoke sacked and intercepted sophomore quarterback Graham Hancox to clinch the victory for North Allegheny and a berth in the WPIAL title game next week. With two rushing touchdowns, a sack and an interception, Hoke was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Making his return from injury following a three-week absence, Seneca Valley running back Ethan West was limited to just 35 yards on 11 carries. Hancox was equally ineffective in the passing game, completing only 8 of 23 passes for 36 yards and two interceptions. Along with Hoke, junior defensive back Kolin Dinkins also hauled in an interception for the Tigers.

Offensively for North Allegheny, Burton finished with 91 yards on 17 carries, while Phillips completed 8 of 15 passes for 112 yards.

North Allegheny improves to 6-0 overall with the win, while Seneca Valley’s season ends with a 4-3 record. The Tigers will face the Central Catholic Vikings next Friday from Martorelli Stadium in the WPIAL championship game. The contest will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network.

Football Summary vs. Seneca Valley, 10-31-20

GAME SUMMARY     
SCORE BY QUARTERS1234FINAL
Seneca Valley00077
North Allegheny0147021

Tigers Blowout Big Macs, 35-0

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Top-ranked North Allegheny shut down Canon-McMillan and remained unbeaten on the season with a 35-0 whitewash of the Big Macs on Friday night at Newman Stadium.

The Tigers strayed from their normal ground-and-pound approach and aired out the football against the Big Macs. Senior quarterback Greg Phillips completed 17 of 23 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns to help spark the victory. His top target was senior Mason Kress, who hauled in nine passes for 92 yards and two scores. For his efforts, Kress was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Canon-McMillan opened the game with the football but quarterback Deuce Lyons fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. NA lineman Matt Ranallo pounced on the fumble at the CM 15-yard line. The Tigers were unable to capitalize on the turnover, however, and missed a 31-yard field goal, keeping the game scoreless.

Despite the missed opportunity, the North Allegheny offense scored the next four times it possessed the football to gain command of the game. On NA’s next drive, the Phillips to Kress connection began to assert itself. With 3:05 remaining in the first quarter, Phillips hit Kress for a 16-yard scoring strike to cap a nine-play, 46-yard drive for a 7-0 lead.

Phillips dialed up Kress on the Tigers next drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass on a middle screen for a 14-0 lead with 6:59 to go in the second quarter.

Late in the second quarter, North Allegheny was pinned back at its own 20-yard line but put together a 12-play, 80-yard drive that culminated on an 11-yard touchdown pass by Phillips to senior Khalil Dinkins to give the Tigers a 21-0 advantage with just 21 seconds to play before halftime.

The Tigers started the second half with the football and wasted little time in extending the lead. On just the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Phillips tossed a screen pass to running back J.R. Burton, who sprinted 84 yards up the sideline for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

Capping the scoring and invoking the mercy rule with 10:15 to go in the fourth quarter, Burton toted the football into the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown run to bring the final score to 35-0, Tigers.

Following the win, North Allegheny improves to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Quad County Conference. Canon-McMillan dips to 2-3 overall and in conference play. With next week’s game against Hempfield already cancelled due to a COVID issue with the Spartans, North Allegheny will close out conference play with an undefeated record.

(Photo by Casey Rodak and courtesy of NA Football Boosters.)

Football Summary vs. Canon-McMillan, 10-16-20

GAME SUMMARY     
SCORE BY QUARTERS1234FINAL
Canon-McMillan00000
North Allegheny7147735

Khalil Dinkins’ 4 Touchdowns Sparks NA’s 49-13 Romp At Norwin

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Senior Khalil Dinkins accounted for 145 yards of total offense and four touchdowns to lead top-ranked North Allegheny past the Norwin Knights on Friday night, 49-13. Dinkins hauled in two touchdown catches and rushed for two more scores to spark a blowout victory on the road.

On senior night at Norwin Knights Stadium, the host squad struck first on a 57-yard screen pass from Nick Fleming to Connor Chrisman for a 7-0 lead with 6:09 to play in the first quarter. North Allegheny answered back immediately as just 19 seconds later Dinkins took a jet sweep 69 yards for a touchdown and the game was tied 7-7.

After a three-and-out by Norwin, the Tigers took a 14-7 lead on their next possession on an 18-yard touchdown run by J.R. Burton with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the outstanding offensive performance by Dinkins continued. With 8:28 on the clock, Dinkins hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Greg Phillips for a 21-7 advantage. On the next NA drive, Dinkins punctuated a seven-play, 43-yard march with a 6-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 28-7 with 3:10 left in the half. With 1:50 remaining before intermission, Dinkins turned a quick hitch into a 30-yard scoring catch for a 35-7 lead. For his effort, Dinkins was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

North Allegheny opened the second half with the football and put the game away with a 10-play, 81-yard drive that culminated on a 35-yard scoring scamper by junior quarterback Ryan Treser to invoke the mercy rule with a 42-7 advantage.

The Tigers added on another touchdown with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter courtesy of a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Andrew Gavlik to increase the score to 49-7. Gavlik finished as the leading rusher on the night with 81 yards on eight carries.

With just 17 seconds remaining in the game, Norwin capped the scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass by Fleming to Noah Vogel to bring the final score to 49-13, Tigers.

Overall, the Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage and outrushed Norwin, 318-44. The NA defense sacked Fleming three times, with sacks coming from Sean Metcalf, Nate Hoke and Matt Ranallo. Metcalf also posted a team-high 4.5 tackles.

Top-ranked North Allegheny improves to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the Quad County Conference. Norwin slips to 1-4 overall and in conference play. The Tigers will host Canon-McMillan next week.

(Photo by Casey Rodak and courtesy of NA Football Boosters.)

Football Summary vs. Norwin, 10-9-20

GAME SUMMARY     
SCORE BY QUARTERS1234FINAL
North Allegheny14217749
Norwin700613

NA Fends Off Mt. Lebanon For Conference Win, 14-11

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Two second half touchdowns and hard-nosed defensive play propelled North Allegheny to a 14-11 win over Mt. Lebanon on Friday night at Newman Stadium. The victory leaves the Tigers as the only remaining undefeated team in Class 6A. It’s also the 11th win in a row for the Tigers in their head-to-head series with the Blue Devils.

Through the first 24 minutes of action, the contest was a defensive struggle with the only points coming on a lengthy 11-play, 76-yard drive by Mt. Lebanon in the first quarter. The drive stalled at the NA 10-yard line, forcing the Blue Devils to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Casey Sorsdal and a 3-0 lead with 4:39 on the first quarter clock.

The field goal by Sorsdal remained the only points of the game until North Allegheny put together a scoring drive in the third quarter. Starting at the Mt. Lebanon 46-yard line, the Tigers used an 8-play march, culminating the possession with a 7-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Greg Phillips to tight end Sean Metcalf for a 7-3 lead with 4:07 left in the third. Phillips finished the night with a perfect 8 for 8 passing performance and 59 yards.

With the Blue Devils unable to answer on their next possession, the Tigers offense struck again. Powered by the running prowess of senior Kahlil Dinkins, who totaled 45 yards on 10 carries on the night, North Allegheny drove the ball to the Mt. Lebanon 33-yard line. On the sixth-play of the drive, the Tigers took advantage of the defensive attention on Dinkins and ran a reverse with senior Mason Kress who followed a convoy of blockers into the end zone for a 33-yard score and a 14-3 lead with 8:06 left in regulation.

It appeared North Allegheny had gained command of the contest following the Kress touchdown, especially after Mt. Lebanon was forced to punt on its next possession. However, when North Allegheny was forced to punt with 4:30 to go in the game, Mt. Lebanon’s Jack Smith broke through the line and blocked the kick, which was recovered by Ryan Martin at the NA 22-yard line. Just five plays later, quarterback Joey Daniels tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Eli Heidenreich, trimming the Tigers lead to 14-9 with 2:40 remaining. On the subsequent two-point conversion, Daniels delivered an accurate pass into the end zone to receiver Michael Beiersdorf to bring the score to 14-11, Tigers.

With no timeouts remaining, Mt. Lebanon attempted a last-ditch onside kick but it was recovered by Kress and the Tigers. North Allegheny chewed up all but one second off the clock in the waning minutes to finish off a 14-11 win.

Delivering another outstanding performance, senior linebacker Brady Leczo was once again selected as the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. Leczo totaled a team-high six tackles and two sacks to pace the defense.

Following the win, North Allegheny improves to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Quad County Conference. Mt. Lebanon dips to 1-2 overall and in conference play. The Tigers will visit Norwin next week at 7:00 p.m.

(Photo by Casey Rodak and courtesy of NA Football Boosters.)

Football Summary vs. Mt. Lebanon, 10-2-20

GAME SUMMARY     
SCORE BY QUARTERS1234FINAL
Mt. Lebanon300811
North Allegheny007714