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2022-2023 Game Summaries

NA Wins Defensive Slugfest With Central Catholic, 7-3

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On the first Friday night of autumn, the North Allegheny Tigers won a defensive slugfest over the Central Catholic Vikings, 7-3, in a Tri-County Five Conference contest at West Mifflin High School. The NA defense limited the Vikings to 196 yards of total offense and came up with a critical stop on a fourth down play with 1:53 remaining in the game. The 10 points scored combined was the fewest in a game involving North Allegheny since the Tigers defeated the McDowell Trojans, 7-0, on Oct. 6, 2006. That same season, NA earned another victory with just one offensive touchdown when the Tigers beat Mt. Lebanon in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs, 7-6.

Playing just miles away from Kennywood Park, the first half resembled a ride of bumper cars with each team hitting each other head on and not much to show for it. The Tigers and Vikings each committed two turnovers in the first 24 minutes and combined for only 159 total yards. Just before halftime, a Central Catholic drive was derailed thanks to an interception by junior defensive back Khiryn Boyd at the Vikings 48-yard line, keeping the game scoreless at the half.

North Allegheny’s first drive of the third quarter stalled at midfield, and on 4th down, a high snap sailed over punter Rourke Kennedy‘s head and was recovered by Kennedy at the NA 8-yard line. Poised to score the game’s first touchdown, the Vikings instead went backwards when junior defensive lineman Aidan Buggey sacked PCC quarterback Peyton Wehner on second down at the NA 13-yard line. Two plays later, Central Catholic settled for a 30-yard field goal by Billy Lech for a 3-0 lead.

The Vikings three-point lead remained intact until the Tigers embarked on what proved to be the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Beginning at their own 17-yard line with 9:37 remaining in the contest, North Allegheny traversed 83 yards on a drive that was keyed by a 34-yard run by senior running back Andrew Gavlik to the PCC 24-yard line. Two plays later, junior quarterback Logan Kushner dove into the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run to give NA a 6-3 lead with 6:41 left in the game. Kicker Nick Van Winkle tacked on the extra point for a 7-3 advantage.

On the ensuing possession, Central Catholic drove to the NA 19-yard line but again the Vikings’ drive stalled. On a 4th and 7, Wehner threw a fade to the end zone intended for Vernon Settles but the pass was broken up by senior cornerback Campbell Melzer to preserve NA’s 7-3 lead. Finishing with a team-high six tackles and making the night’s most critical defensive play in man-on-man coverage, Melzer was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Following the Melzer defensive stop, Central Catholic had two timeouts remaining and the North Allegheny offense still needed one more first down to clinch the victory. On a 3rd and 3 at the NA 26-yard line, Gavlik carried the ball 10 yards to seal a 7-3 conference win. On 24 totes, Gavlik rushed for a career-high 153 yards and notched his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

North Allegheny remains undefeated with the win and improves to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Tri-County Five Conference. Central Catholic slips to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. The Tigers will face neighborhood rival Pine-Richland in a non-conference matchup next week.

Football Summary vs. Central Catholic, 9-23-22

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NA Blasts Baldwin, 53-7

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The North Allegheny Tigers won their fourth consecutive game on Friday night with a 53-7 blowout of Baldwin in a non-conference clash at Newman Stadium. The Tigers used a fast start and a strong finish to cruise to the victory. Junior quarterback Logan Kushner passed for 156 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns, passing for two scores and rushing for two more. The NA defense hounded Baldwin quarterbacks with seven sacks and added an interception.

The Tigers built a 26-0 lead by the early stages of the second quarter and opened the scoring on a 5-yard touchdown pass by Kushner to senior receiver Anthony Varlotta with 8:25 left in the first period. Four minutes later, a blocked punt set up Kushner for a 1-yard scoring run and a 14-0 lead. Following an interception by junior defensive back Khiryn Boyd, the Tigers capped a six-play, 45-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown reception by Varlotta on a screen from Kushner for a 20-0 lead with 2:44 left in the first quarter. The extra point attempt failed.

Just 32 seconds into the second quarter, Kushner scored on a 1-yard QB keeper for a 26-0 advantage. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

From that point on in the first half, the Tigers’ momentum hit a lull and the Fighting Highlanders capitalized with a 41-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback John Kozar with 6:39 remaining in the half to trim the score to 26-7, North Allegheny.

North Allegheny got back to basics in the third quarter and increased the lead to 33-7 on a 33-yard touchdown run by Boyd with 8:01 on the clock. Boyd accounted for 120 total yards, including 87 receiving on four catches, and was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game. He also added an interception on defense.

Later in the third quarter, senior running back Andrew Gavlik busted off a 49 yard run to the Baldwin 1-yard line to set up NA’s next score. On the next play, senior Steve Palermo toted the ball into the end zone to swell the Tigers advantage to 40-7 with 5:39 on the clock. Gavlik paced the ground game for NA with 13 carries for 97 yards.

With 1:29 left in the third, Harron Lee reeled in a 9-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Colman Craft to invoke the mercy rule with a 46-7 lead. The extra point attempt failed.

Craft added the cherry on top of the blowout win with a 92-yard touchdown run with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 53-7. The scoring run by Craft was the longest by a North Allegheny player in six years. In 2016, then-quarterback Ethan Maenza raced 95 yards for a touchdown against Hempfield in the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs.

In a one-sided affair, North Allegheny outgained Baldwin, 417-126. Of the seven sacks by the NA defense, junior Aidan Buggey led the team with three sacks. Senior Nick Berarducci added 1.5 sacks, while Daniel Sellers and Brody Thomas posted one sack each. Junior Cameron Chmura chipped in with a half-sack.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 4-0 overall, while Baldwin slips to 1-3 on the season. The Tigers return to conference play next week with a matchup against Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

Football Summary vs. Baldwin, 9-16-22

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NA Stages Second-Half Rally For 29-18 Win Over McDowell

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North Allegheny rallied from an 11-point second half deficit to earn a 29-18 non-conference win over the McDowell Trojans on Friday night at Newman Stadium. The Tigers trailed 18-7 late in third quarter before staging a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Junior quarterback Logan Kushner helped spearhead the rally with 204 yards passing and three touchdowns, and added a rushing score to earn Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.

The first quarter got off to a sluggish start for both teams with the only score coming on a safety by McDowell for a 2-0 lead with 7:12 remaining in the period. For much of the first half, the Trojans were able to move the ball well with their running game but several drives stalled because of penalties or timely stops by the NA defense. On the night, McDowell committed 18 penalties for 211 yards. Despite the penalties, McDowell did manage to add to on to the lead with 3:26 left in the second quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Alex Sontheimer for a 5-0 advantage.

North Allegheny got its offense revved up on the ensuing possession and capped a 65-yard scoring drive on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kushner to junior receiver Khiryn Boyd to take a 7-5 lead with 1:58 left in the first half.

In the second half, McDowell took the lead back on a lengthy 8-play, 92-yard drive that culminated on a 29-yard touchdown pass by Ben Moore to Christian Santiago. The two-point conversion attempt failed and McDowell led 11-7 with 6:06 left in the third period.

North Allegheny fumbled the ensuing kickoff and McDowell’s Stephon Porter recovered ball and returned it to the NA 6-yard line. Three plays later, senior running back Artis Simmons scored on a 2-yard run to increase the Trojans lead to 18-7 with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter. Simmons toted the ball 26 times for 161 yards and a touchdown. Moore also aided the McDowell ground game with 66 yards on 18 carries.

Undaunted, the Tigers didn’t panic from the 11-point deficit and began to mount a comeback with a 10-play, 73-yard drive late in the third period. The march concluded on a 4-yard rushing score by Kushner on a bootleg on the final play of the third quarter, cutting the McDowell lead to 18-13. A two-point conversion pass from Kushner to tight end Daniel Sellers trimmed the deficit to 18-15.

Looking to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, McDowell used another lengthy drive to move the ball to the NA 19-yard line. However, on a 1st and 10, senior linebacker Ian Zahorchak sacked Moore and forced a fumble that was recovered by junior Aidan Buggey at the NA 26-yard line. Just one play later Kushner tossed a swing pass to Boyd who weaved through defenders for a 74-yard touchdown and NA leapfrogged ahead for a 22-18 lead with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter. Boyd finished the night with five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

After the Trojans were forced to punt on their next drive, the Tigers iced the game with a five-play, 73-yard drive. North Allegheny culminated the possession with a 32-yard touchdown pass by Kushner to senior receiver Rourke Kennedy for a 29-18 advantage with 4:17 remaining in the contest. The Kennedy touchdown was the final score of the night and the Tigers prevailed for the non-conference victory.

In addition to Kushner and Boyd’s big nights in the passing game, senior running back Andrew Gavlik rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries. On defense, linebacker Kevin O’Donnell led with 11 tackles. Junior linebacker Tyree Alualu also forced a first half fumble and finished with seven tackles.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 3-0 on the season, while McDowell suffers its first loss to fall to 2-1. The Tigers will host Baldwin next Friday in another non-conference contest at Newman Stadium.

Football Summary vs. McDowell, 9-9-22

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NA Staves Off Canon-McMillan For 35-21 Conference Win

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North Allegheny built a 27-0 lead and staved off a second half rally by Canon-McMillan for a 35-21 victory at AHN Stadium on Friday night in the Class 6A Tri-County Conference opener. It’s the seventh consecutive win for the Tigers in the head-to-head series since the Big Macs’ move up to Class 6A in 2018.

In a rematch of last year’s WPIAL quarterfinal, the Big Macs had revenge on their mind and started the game with a lengthy drive that eventually stalled at the NA 24-yard line. Following a turnover on downs by CM, the Tigers marched 76-yards for the game’s first score. Senior running back Andrew Gavlik culminated the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 3:25 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

After a three-and-out by Canon-McMillan, junior Evan Lyon returned a punt 47 yards to the CM 4-yard line to set up NA’s next score. On a 4th and goal, Gavlik crossed the goal line on a 2-yard run to increase the Tigers lead to 14-0 with 0:38 left in the first.

North Allegheny added on to the lead with 8:50 left in the second quarter on a Logan Kushner 12-yard touchdown pass to Khiryn Boyd for a 20-0 advantage. The extra point kick was blocked by CM’s Kaeden Singleton.

Evan Lyon races past the Canon-McMillan defense for a 60-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

With 5:09 remaining in the second period, Lyon took a reverse 60 yards for a touchdown and a 27-0 North Allegheny lead.

While it appeared the Tigers might earn a second consecutive mercy-rule win, the Big Macs flipped the momentum when senior Treyvon Mullen intercepted a pass with 2:46 remaining in the half and returned it 15 yards to the CM 45 yard line. Canon-McMillan capitalized on the turnover and scored with 17 seconds left in the half on a Mikey Evans to Mullen 8-yard touchdown pass, cutting the NA lead to 27-7.

In the second half, four North Allegheny fumbles sparked Canon-McMillan’s comeback bid. On a 4th and 17, Evans heaved a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Austyn Winkleblech to trim the score to 27-14 with 4:28 remaining in the third period. Following an NA fumble, the Big Macs cashed in 14 seconds later for a 32-yard Evans to Winkleblech touchdown pass and the NA lead was trimmed to 27-21. Winkleblech, a Pitt recruit in baseball, finished the night with seven receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Another NA fumble gave Canon-McMillan the ball back with a chance to take the lead. However, a third down sack by senior linebacker Kevin O’Donnell short-circuited the Big Macs drive at the NA 45-yard line. It was one of two sacks on the night by O’Donnell and several timely defensive stops.

The Tigers mounted what proved to be the game-clinching drive in the late stages of the third quarter. A 46-yard burst by Gavlik moved the ball to the CM 35-yard line. As the drive moved into the fourth quarter Kushner dialed up a 33-yard pass to Boyd at the CM 1-yard line. Gavlik culminated the possession on a 1-yard rushing score, his third of the game, for a 33-21 lead with 10:40 to play in the final period. Kushner connected with Boyd for a two-point conversion to increase the NA lead to 35-21.

In the remaining minutes, Gavlik and the Tigers were able to grind down the clock to close out the conference victory. Gavlik totaled 110 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Gavlik and Lyon, who also intercepted a pass in the second half in addition to his 60-yard touchdown and lengthy punt return, were named the Wright Automotive Co-Players of the Game.

Kushner completed 12 of 19 passes for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Boyd hauled in seven passes for 135 yards and a score. Evans was 16-for-43 for 198 yards and three touchdowns for the Big Macs.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Canon-McMillan dips to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the section. The Tigers return home next week to host McDowell in non-conference play.

Football Summary vs. Canon-McMillan, 9-2-22

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Tigers Roll ‘Dice In Season Opener, 41-0

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North Allegheny opened the 2022 season on Friday night with a 41-0 rout of Allderdice at Newman Stadium. Junior Tyree Alualu rushed for 92 yards, scored three total touchdowns and also forced a fumble on defense to earn Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Junior quarterback Logan Kushner piloted a precise offense with 11-of 17 passing for 167 yards and three touchdowns.

The Tigers started quickly when junior Khiryn Boyd took the opening kickoff 38 yards to the 50-yard line. Seven plays later, Alualu punctuated the 50-yard march with a 16-yard touchdown run for an immediate 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Alualu stripped Allderdice quarterback Azerick Jetter of the football and sophomore Jack Yatchenko recovered the fumble at the Dragons 37-yard line.

After back-to-back sacks by the Allderdice defense, it appeared NA might not capitalize on the turnover. However, on a 3rd and 26, Kushner heaved a 50-yard pass to Boyd for a first down at the Dragons 6-yard line. Boyd finished the night with seven receptions for 105 yards. Moments after the bomb to Boys, Alualu rushed into the end zone on a 6-yard scoring jaunt for a 14-0 lead with 5:31 to play in the first quarter.

Alualu scored one more time before the end of the quarter on a 6-yard pass from Kushner to balloon the Tigers lead to 21-0 with 20 seconds remaining in the period.

North Allegheny stretched the lead to 28-0 with 4:25 left in the second quarter when Kushner hit junior Nate Spak for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

With the Tigers in command coming out of the locker room at halftime, NA wasted little time invoking the mercy rule on another scoring strike from Kushner. The NA signal caller delivered a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Daniel Sellers midway through the third quarter for a 35-0 lead.

The Tigers tacked on more touchdown with 7:47 left in the fourth period when sophomore Liam Flaherty plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run to bring the final score to 41-0.

On the night, North Allegheny outgained Allderdice, 303-78. The NA defense took the fire out of the Dragons attack with three sacks and two turnovers. Along with the Yatchenko fumble recovery, senior Campbell Melzer made a diving interception in the second quarter.

Following the season opening win, North Allegheny will visit the Canon-McMillan Big Macs next week in the Tri-County Five Conference opener. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

Football Summary vs. Allderdice, 8-26-22

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