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2022-2023 News

NA Travels to State College For PIAA Quarterfinal Clash

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The North Allegheny Tigers (11-1) return to the PIAA football playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a PIAA Class 6A quarterfinal clash with the State College Little Lions (12-0).

The Tigers are coming off a thrilling WPIAL championship win over Central Catholic, 35-21, to capture the program’s fifth WPIAL crown. Tied 21-21 at the half, North Allegheny surged ahead on a 45-yard touchdown run by Logan Kushner in the third quarter and grabbed a 35-21 lead when senior running back Andrew Gavlik powered his way into the end zone from 18 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter. The NA defense took it from there by shutting out the Vikings in the second half, including a crucial goal-line stand with 5:18 left in the game to seal the win. Kushner finished with 195 yards rushing and a touchdown, to go along with 130 yards passing and two scoring aerials. Junior wideout Khiryn Boyd hauled in two passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns and provided lockdown coverage on defense.

Following their WPIAL title win, the Tigers now turn their attention to the state playoffs and the undefeated State College Little Lions. The District 6 champs are appearing in the PIAA playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine years. State College is 12-17 all-time in the PIAA playoffs with their deepest run in 2009 finishing as PIAA runners-up with a 24-7 loss to La Salle College.

This year’s version of the Little Lions might be the best in program history with an offense that averages just shy of 40 points per game and a defense that yields 17 points per game. State College is coming off a thriller of its own in the PIAA first round, defeating McDowell 57-50 in triple overtime last week.

The Lions’ nickname might say “Little” but their offensive line is far from it. A big burly offensive front is anchored by seniors and twin brothers, Michael and Thomas Dincher. Both are receiving Division I offers and tip the scales at 300 pounds. Running behind that line is arguably the best freshman running back in the country, D’Ante Sheffey. The first-year back has toted the football for 1,576 yards this season and 21 touchdowns. Sheffey is paired in the backfield with senior Matt Wall, who has rushed for 375 yards and six touchdowns. At quarterback is senior Finn Furmanek, who has passed for 1,476 yards and 15 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Furmanek is also effective as a runner, toting the football 74 times for 440 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Receivers Dante Nastasi and Ty Salazer both have over 500 yards receiving and have combined for nine touchdown catches on the year.

On defense, standouts include Harvard commit Stephen Scourtis and senior edge rusher John Scott. Scourtis is second on the team in sacks with 7.5 and Scott is the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference Defensive Player of the Year with a team-high 91 tackles and four sacks. Scott has offers from Butler and New Hampshire. The team leader in sacks is sophomore lineman Sean Mayer with eight sacks. Salazer, a sophomore cornerback, has thieved the most passes in the State College secondary with five interceptions on the campaign.

State College is coached by Matt Lintal, a State College grad and product from Franklin & Marshall College. He is in his 16th year of coaching and fifth as head coach of the Little Lions. Lintal was recently named the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference Coach of the Year.

North Allegheny is led by head coach Art Walker, Jr. He has a career record of 231-67 overall and was recently named the WPIAL Class 6A Coach of the Year.

Tonight’s matchup between North Allegheny and State College will mark the third ever playoff meeting between the two teams. The Tigers defeated the Little Lions 21-6 in the 2010 PIAA quarterfinals enroute to a state championship. The schools met up again a year later in the 2011 PIAA quarterfinals and the Tigers won that contest as well, 40-14. In most recent meeting in 2011, quarterback Mack Leftwich (UTEP) accounted for six total touchdowns, rushing for 186 yards and five scores. He added another 166 passing yards and a touchdown. Running back Vinnie Congedo (College of Wooster) also rushed for over 100 yards as the Tigers bulldozed their way into the PIAA final four.

North Allegheny has a 9-1 record all-time in the PIAA playoffs. The last state playoff appearance for the Tigers in 2012 ended in triumph with a 63-28 win over Coatesville in the PIAA championship game at Hershey Park Stadium. At the time, the 63 points scored was the record for most points in a state championship game in any classification. That mark has since been broken by Southern Columbia’s 74-point effort in 2019. The 91 combined points in the game remains the PIAA championship record for combined points scored. An individual mark that remains intact from that contest is the record for longest fumble return for a touchdown in a PIAA title game by Brendan Coniker (Richmond), who raced 80 yards for a touchdown.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:00 p.m. in State College. As always, the game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show set for 6:40 p.m. Randy Gore and Jonathan Spina have the call. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Khiryn Boyd, Tyree Alualu Selected to PG’s Fabulous 22 Team

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Two members of the WPIAL Class 6A championship North Allegheny football team have been named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Fabulous 22 team for the 2022 season. Junior receiver/cornerback Khiryn Boyd and junior linebacker/running back Tyree Alualu were selected to the 42nd annual all-star team honoring players in the WPIAL and Pittsburgh City League.

Both Boyd and Alualu were also recently selected to the Big 56 All-Conference team for Class 6A, making them two-time First Team picks by the Big 56 over the last two seasons.

For more on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Fabulous 22 Team, click here.

Tigers To Lock Horns With Vikings For WPIAL Class 6A Championship

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For the second time in the last three seasons, the North Allegheny Tigers (10-1) and Central Catholic Vikings (7-4) will duel for the WPIAL Class 6A championship tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Norwin High School. The Tigers are vying for their first WPIAL crown since winning three straight from 2010-2012, which remains most consecutive titles won in the largest classification. The Vikings are playing in the WPIAL title game for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.

These two perennial powers met back in week four at West Mifflin High School and the Tigers won a defensive struggle by a 7-3 decision. In that contest, the Central Catholic offense mustered only 196 total yards and was turned away on their final drive when senior Campbell Melzer broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Vernon Settles. The Tigers running game ate up the final two minutes off the clock thanks to the legs of running back Andrew Gavlik, who rushed for a career-high 153 yards in the contest. North Allegheny quarterback Logan Kushner scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with a 7-yard rushing touchdown with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter.

Since that game back in mid-September, Central Catholic has won five of its last six games. Several changes were made by the Vikings since their loss to NA. The offense has been revamped and is more explosive, led by junior quarterback Peyton Wehner with 2,247 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and just interceptions. Additionally, Wehner has rushed for 300 yards and four touchdowns. The read-option runs for Wehner and running backs Amari Shields and Elijah Faulkner have proven ultra-effective. Shields, who missed the previous matchup with NA due to injury, is the team’s leading rusher with 491 yards and four scores. Faulkner is right behind with 489 yards and four touchdowns. The top receivers are Peter Gonzalez with 35 catches for 630 yards and seven touchdowns, and Vernon Settles, who has hauled in 48 receptions for 603 yards and two ariel scores.

Following the resignation of defensive coordinator Dave Fleming, the Central Catholic defense has been reinvigorated as well. Linebackers Cole Sullivan and Matthew Petruzzi have moved to defensive end, and ends Ty Yuhas and Carmen Petraglia have switched to the interior to defensive line in an effort to increase the Vikings team speed. The switch has paid dividends, as evidenced in a 28-7 win over Mt. Lebanon in the WPIAL semifinals last week.

When it comes to defense, the best unit in Class 6A belongs to North Allegheny, allowing just 11 points per game. The Tigers limited Canon-McMillan to a paltry 43 yards of total offense last week in a 7-0 victory over the Big Macs in the WPIAL semifinals. The NA defense has held opponents to single digits six times this season and has limited foes to three points or less four times, including two shutouts. The 2022 Tigers defense has a chance to become one of top defenses in program history if it continues its stellar play. The best NA defense during the Art Walker era was the 2010 unit, which held opponents to single digits nine times and collected four shutouts, including a 21-0 whitewash of La Salle College in the PIAA Class 4A championship game. The 2022 Tigers would love to end the season the same way, but will need another rock-solid effort in tonight’s title tilt with the Vikings.

Team leaders on the NA defense include linebacker Kevin O’Donnell with a team-high 83 tackles. Edge rushers Daniel Sellers (6.5) and Aidan Buggey (5.5) have pillaged pass pockets with a combined 12 sacks. With six interceptions on the year, junior defensive back Khiryn Boyd has been the most larcenous cornerback at NA since Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State) picked off seven passes in 2017.

On offense, Boyd is the team’s leading receiver with 38 catches for 581 yards and five touchdowns. Gavlik is top ground gainer with 806 yards and four touchdowns. Kushner has passed for 1,263 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Anytime North Allegheny and Central Catholic meet, it all boils down to who controls the line of scrimmage and who makes the splash play in special teams. Both items will be paramount to tonight’s contest. In the return game, Boyd and junior Evan Lyon have busted off long returns this season. Central Catholic boasts the dangerous return man Xavier Thomas, who is the younger brother of Rodney Thomas, a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts this season.

The last time these locked horns with a title at stake, it was in the 2020 WPIAL Class 6A championship at Martorelli Stadium, a game that Central Catholic won 38-24. NA led 21-10 in the second quarter before Anderson Cynkar returned a kickoff 67 yards for a touchdown to swing the pendulum toward the Vikings. Cynkar added a pick-six in the third quarter that gave Central Catholic a 31-21 lead. Eddy Tillman rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns for the Vikings. North Allegheny was led by Mason Kress with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, including a 65-yard touchdown catch on the first play from scrimmage.

Kickoff for tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Central Catholic is slated for 6:00 p.m. from Norwin High School. As always, the game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show getting underway at 5:40 p.m. Randy Gore and Jonathan Spina have the call. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Big 56 Tabs 17 Tigers To All-Conference Team, Art Walker Named Coach of the Year

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The Big 56 Conference announced its all-conference teams on Monday and 17 North Allegheny Tigers were named Class 6A All-Conference, including nine First Team All-Conference. Tigers head coach Art Walker was named the Class 6A Coach of the Year for leading North Allegheny to a 10-1 record and Tri-County Five Conference title.

Earning first team laurels on offense went to sophomore center Jack Yatchenko, senior tackle Abdallah Daud, senior running back Andrew Gavlik, junior Khiryn Boyd as an at-large pick, and junior kicker Nick Van Winkle. On defense, first-team accolades went to junior defensive tackle Cameron Chmura, junior insider linebacker Tyree Alualu, senior defensive back Campbell Melzer and senior punter Rourke Kennedy.

Second team all-conference selections went to receiver Anthony Varlotta, defensive ends Aidan Buggey and Daniel Sellers, linebackers Kevin O’Donnell and Nate Spak, and defensive back Evan Lyon.

Big 56 honorable mention went to junior quarterback Logan Kushner and senior outside linebacker Ian Zahorchak.

For a full list of the Class 6A All-Conference Team, click here.

North Allegheny will return to the gridiron on Saturday in the Class 6A championship game against Central Catholic at 6:00 p.m. from Norwin High School.

NA Takes On Canon-McMillan With Trip To WPIAL Title Game At Stake

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For the third time in the last four seasons, the North Allegheny Tigers (9-1) and Canon-McMillan Big Macs (5-5) will meet in the WPIAL playoffs. Tonight’s matchup will be the first with a trip to the WPIAL Class 6A championship game at stake. Since the Big Macs made the jump to the largest classification in 2016, the Tigers have won seven in a row against CM.

North Allegheny enters the WPIAL playoffs on a four-game winning streak and are coming off a thrilling 27-26 win over Seneca Valley in the regular season finale. The Tigers trailed 26-14 at the half but rallied to eliminate the Raiders, a preseason favorite to win Class 6A by some, from the playoffs. Junior Khiryn Boyd sparked the comeback with one touchdown catch, one rushing touchdown and a tide-turning interception in the third quarter. Senior running back Andrew Gavlik rushed for 123 yards and a score. The defense and special teams forced three turnovers and the offense converted all three Seneca Valley miscues into touchdowns. Junior linebacker Daniel Sellers tallied two sacks, including a pivotal sack and forced fumble in the fourth quarter that led to the game-winning score.

Canon-McMillan, meanwhile, had a three-game winning streak snapped in its regular season finale in a 31-0 loss to Mt. Lebanon. However, a banged up Big Macs team limped into its game with the Blue Devils. Presumed healthy following the bye week, Canon-McMillan will be a forced to be reckoned with thanks to several standout performers. Junior quarterback Mikey Evans, the son of head coach Mike Evans, has thrown for 1,448 yards and 18 touchdown passes this season. His favorite target is University of Pittsburgh baseball commit, Austyn Winkleblech, who has hauled in 46 passes for 809 yards and an eye-popping 12 touchdowns. He also owns a pick-six on defense and a kickoff return for a score on special teams this season. Far from one dimensional, senior running back Jake Kasper has rushed for 1,404 yards and 10 touchdowns. Other notable players include linemen Andrew Kocan, who is committed to Virginia Military Institute, and Noah Livesay, who has offers from Clarion and West Liberty. Linebacker Kent McMahon is a two-time all-conference pick with Division I FCS offers and his younger brother, Matt, is a returning all-conference selection on the offensive line.

The last meeting between these two teams came back in week one in Canonsburg, resulting in a 35-21 win for the Tigers. North Allegheny jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the second quarter but five turnovers by the Tigers allowed the Big Macs to stage a comeback, trimming the score to 27-21 midway through the third quarter. Gavlik rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns in the game, helping NA pull away in the fourth quarter. Winkleblech was a big part of the Big Macs comeback bid, pulling down seven receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns. In his last two games against North Allegheny, Winkleblech has 14 catches for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Kickoff for tonight’s game at Newman Stadium between North Allegheny and Canon-McMillan is slated for 7:00 p.m. The pregame show begins at 6:40 p.m. and includes and pregame interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. Randy Gore and Jonathan Spina have the call on the North Allegheny Sports Network. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Rourke Kennedy Gives Verbal Commitment to Bucknell University

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North Allegheny senior punter Rourke Kennedy will continue his playing career at NCAA Division I Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Kennedy announced his verbal commitment via Twitter on Sunday.

Kennedy is a four-star punter with a 35.6 yard per punt average and has pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line eight times this season. He has a season long of 52 yards and specializes in high, booming kicks that often produces turnovers from opposing punt returners. Additionally, Kennedy serves as North Allegheny’s kick-off specialist, producing nine touchbacks through 10 games.

As a receiver, Kennedy is third on the team with 12 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. He also serves as a cornerback on defense.

Kennedy and the North Allegheny Tigers will take on Canon-McMillan on Friday night in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals.

NA To Battle Seneca Valley In Regular Season Finale

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In the regular season finale of 2022, the North Allegheny Tigers (8-1, 3-0) will host the Seneca Valley Raiders (6-3, 1-2) tonight at Newman Stadium. The top-ranked Tigers have already clinched the Tri-County Five conference title and have a chance to eliminate their long-time rival from postseason contention with a victory and a Canon-McMillan loss. The Raiders, however, could still make the playoffs even with a loss as long as Canon-McMillan defeats Mt. Lebanon, qualifying SV as the No. 4 seed in the Class 6A bracket and eliminating the Blue Devils.

The Tigers have secured a conference crown for the fourth time in the last five seasons and are coming off a 20-3 win over the reigning state champion in Class 5A, Penn-Trafford. In the victory, kicker Nick Van Winkle made a pair of second quarter field goals that gave NA the lead for good. One of those field goals was a career-long 42-yard effort, which was the longest by a North Allegheny kicker since Alex Greenblatt booted a 43-yard field goal in the 2010 WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals against Bethel Park in a 23-13 win.

Also in the win, junior Khiryn Boyd intercepted his team-leading fourth pass of the season, and almost immediately followed with a 10-yard touchdown catch, his fourth receiving score of the year. To open the second half, Boyd returned the kickoff 98-yards for a touchdown. It was Boyd’s second career kickoff return score, with his first coming nearly a year ago to the date against Hempfield last season.

Another significant milestone was achieved by junior quarterback Logan Kushner, who surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau in the victory over Penn-Trafford. Kushner is the first North Allegheny quarterback since Jeff Clemens (2013 and 2014) to pass for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.

Tonight’s opponent, the Seneca Valley Raiders, had a five-game winning streak snapped last week by Central Catholic in a 28-25 defeat. Two missed extra points and a failed two-point conversion try proved costly in the three-point loss to the Vikings. The Raiders have reached the playoffs four consecutive seasons but that streak is in now peril after last week’s loss to PCC.

Headlining the list of standouts for Seneca Valley is senior wideout and defensive back, Luke Lawson. A Navy commit, Lawson was a first-team all-conference defensive back last season and leads the Raiders in receiving with 50 catches for 779 yards on offense. Senior tight end and defensive lineman Aidan Lyczek is also a Navy commit and leads the team with 10.5 sacks. Senior Chris D’Appolonia is another Division I commit at linebacker and is headed to Toledo.

Senior quarterback Graham Hancox is the anchor on offense with 1,853 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. Backup quarterback Sean O’Shea will also see time at running back, along with junior tailback Kai West. Senior Wyatt Craver is Seneca Valley’s leading rusher with 537 yards, however, he did not play in last week’s loss to Central Catholic.

North Allegheny has won four of the last six meetings with Seneca Valley but the Raiders did win the most recent matchup, earning a 17-12 victory at NexTier Stadium last season. The Raiders used two goal-line stands, including one with just two seconds left in the game, to secure the victory. Nolan Dworek rushed for 138 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown with a 4-yard scoring run with 6:38 left in the game.

Kickoff for tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Seneca Valley is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network, with the pregame show getting underway at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game broadcast, click here.

NA Hosts Penn-Trafford Tonight In Rare Matchup

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The North Allegheny Tigers (7-1) host the Penn-Trafford Warriors (5-3) tonight for a non-conference clash at Newman Stadium. This evening is also a Pink Out Night in support of cancer awareness and the Crucial Catch mission to fight cancer through early detection.

The top-ranked team in Class 6A with a 3-0 conference mark, the Tigers hope to pick up a second straight non-conference victory after a 38-13 triumph at Norwin last week. NA bulldozed its way to a win with 272 rushing yards and two rushers of 90-yards or more. Senior Steve Palermo toted the ball 20 times for 92 yards, while junior wideout Khiryn Boyd raced 77 yards with a second quarter touchdown and finished with 96 yards on the ground. Junior running back Tyree Alualu racked up 61 yards on 13 carries with two rushing scores. While the NA rushing attack powered the offense, the Tigers defense was once again dominant and sacked quarterback Jackson Pons four times, including a safety by Daniel Sellers in the second quarter.

Penn-Trafford is the reigning PIAA champions in Class 5A, but following the graduation of several key players, the Warriors have been fighting for their playoff lives in 2022 with a 2-2 conference record. In desperate need of a conference win last week in Class 5A’s Big East Conference, Penn-Trafford also turned to a highly effective rushing attack enroute to a 35-21 win over Plum. Penn-Trafford punished Plum with an eye-popping 377 rushing yards, led by senior running back Owen Demari with 190 yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Conlan Greene added 131 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

On the season, Greene has been the Warriors lead warhorse with 638 yards on the ground, while passing for 1,140 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Standing at 6-4, 250 pounds, Greene is a physical runner who is tough to corral. Greene is a Temple University recruit for his defensive prowess as an edge rusher and totaled nine sacks to lead Penn-Trafford in their state title run last season. As if a 250-pound ball carrier is difficult enough on opponents, the Warriors also boast a big and burly offensive line, anchored by senior center Joe Enick. A Trib Live preseason all-star, Enick is committed to Central Michigan and leads the defense in 2022 with five sacks from his nose tackle position.

Two teams that rarely face each other, tonight will mark the first time since the 2014 WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals that North Allegheny and Penn-Trafford will meet. In 2014, second-seeded Penn-Trafford rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the seventh-seeded Tigers, 35-31, in a playoff classic. PT quarterback Brett Laffoon (Grove City) led the comeback with 280 yards passing and five touchdowns, connecting with Timmy Vecchio (Robert Morris) for 197 yards and three ariel scores. The Tigers were paced by running back Josh Bergman with 62 yards and two touchdowns, and Ethan Maenza added a 55-yard touchdown run on a reverse. Maenza would later go on to become the Class 6A Player of the Year in 2016 for the Tigers and had a terrific collegiate career at Dartmouth.

Kickoff for tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Penn-Trafford is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network, with the pregame show getting underway at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

NA Ready To Rumble At Norwin For Non-Conference Matchup

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The top-ranked North Allegheny Tigers (6-1) travel to Westmoreland County tonight for a non-conference matchup with the Norwin Knights (1-6).

The Tigers earned an important 20-6 Tri-County Five Conference win over Mt. Lebanon last week and did so with an impressive effort from the defense. The Blue Devils were limited to a scant 97 total yards with a total of negative-three in the second half. Sophomore lineman Jack Yatchenko recovered a fumble in the end zone in the waning minutes of the game to seal the win. Senior Nick Berarducci and junior Tyree Alualu also recovered fumbles in the win. Senior linebacker Ian Zahorchak and junior defensive back Evan Lyon intercepted passes in a five-turnover performance by the NA defense and special teams. Alualu led the team with 10 tackles and also forced the game-clinching fumble near the end of the fourth quarter.

The NA defense will look to continue its dominance against a Norwin team that has lost four in a row and hasn’t scored a touchdown in 12 consecutive quarters. The Knights are in last place in Class 5A’s Big East Conference with an 0-3 mark. Norwin’s lone win came in non-conference play in week two against Fox Chapel, 27-13.

While it’s been a tough season thus far, one of the bright spots for Norwin has been receiver and defensive back, Jackson Pons. The talented junior is the team’s leading receiver with 20 catches for 330 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, Pons has 27 tackles and a team-best two interceptions. Junior linebacker Antonio Rothrauff is the Norwin’s leading tackler with 37 stops and two sacks this year.

North Allegheny hopes that tonight’s game will result in the first of two wins at Norwin’s football stadium this season. The WPIAL Class 6A championship game will be played at Norwin in mid-November.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is set for 7:00 p.m. in Westmoreland County. The pregame show on the North Allegheny Sports Network gets underway at 6:40 p.m., including an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

NA Hosts Mt. Lebanon On Homecoming Night

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The North Allegheny Tigers (5-1, 2-0) play host to the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils (2-4, 1-1) tonight on a Homecoming Friday night at Newman Stadium. The Tigers, who remain undefeated in conference play, look to bounce back from their first loss of the season, a 28-17 decision to the Pine-Richland Rams last week.

The Blue Devils are the reigning PIAA champions in Class 6A after beating St. Joseph’s Prep, 35-17, at Hersheypark Stadium last season. However, Mt. Lebanon has had to retool its lineup in 2022 following the graduation of many of its top players from a season ago.

After a week zero injury to senior Michael Gevaudin, sophomore David Shields has taken over as the starting quarterback for the Blue Devils. Shields is a baseball commit to the University of Miami (FL) and possesses a strong throwing arm. Along with Shields, there will be a variety of different signal callers coming out of the Wildcat Formation, something that head coach Bob Palko has utilized to great success over the years. Palko won his ninth WPIAL championship last season, tying him with Thomas Jefferson’s Bill Cherpak for most WPIAL crowns as a head coach. Palko is now in his fourth season at Mt. Lebanon after leading West Allegheny to eight WPIAL titles.

On the defensive side of the football, the Blue Devils have a ball hawking defense that has yielded 19 points per game. As a team, Mt. Lebanon has thieved seven enemy passes. Headlining the defensive effort is senior free safety Michael Beiersdorf, who has two interception returns for touchdowns this year. Additionally, he also owns a fumble return for a touchdown, giving him three defensive return touchdowns on the year.

Prior to last season, North Allegheny had won 11 in a row against Mt. Lebanon before the Blue Devils picked up a 51-20 victory in week five of the 2021 campaign. The teams matched up again in the WPIAL semifinals, with the Blue Devils outlasting the Tigers, 28-17. It was the closest postseason game Mt. Lebanon played in during its run to a state title. The playoff win was keyed by three return touchdowns by the Blue Devils.

Tonight, top-ranked North Allegheny will lock horns once again with the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils for an important conference game for both teams. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm at Newman Stadium. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show getting underway at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

 

NA Ready To Renew Rivalry With Pine-Richland Tonight

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The undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (5-0) are set to renew their rivalry with the Pine-Richland Rams (2-3) tonight in a non-conference contest in Gibsonia. The Tigers, the top-ranked team in Class 6A, will face their neighborhood rival for the first time since 2019.

The Tigers are coming off a hard-fought victory in Tri-County Five Conference play with a 7-3 triumph against Central Catholic last week. Junior quarterback Logan Kushner scored the game’s only touchdown with a 7-yard touchdown run with 6:41 remaining in the game and senior running back Andrew Gavlik rushed for a career-high 153 yards. The NA defense permitted only 196 total yards and accounted for a critical fourth quarter stop in the waning minutes to preserve the four-point win. Through the season’s first five games, North Allegheny has not allowed a touchdown in the first or fourth quarters of any game. In the first period, NA has outscored opponents, 55-2. In the final stanza, the Tigers have outscored foes, 42-0, meaning the Tigers have started fast and finished strong in 2022.

North Allegheny hopes to do more of the same against a Pine-Richland team that earned a 61-14 win last week in Class 5A’s Northeast Conference. Junior running back Ethan Pillar rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over the Foxes.

The Rams have endured some injuries on offense this season, including junior quarterback Kanan Huffman, who is likely to sit out with an injury again tonight. The top athlete on offense is senior running back Ryan Palmieri, who leads the Rams with 459 yards rushing and four touchdowns. A jack of all trades, Palmieri has played quarterback in the “Wildcat Formation” in recent weeks and was a first-team all-conference defensive back in 2021. Paving the way for Palmieri and the PR offense is linemen Ryan Cory and Jacob Beam. Cory is a second-team all-conference pick from a season ago and is receiving offers from Power 5 conference schools. Beam was also a second-team selection last season and has drawn college interest as well. Cory and Beam will play on both sides of the ball and are bolstered on defense by senior linebacker Max Heckert, who has offers from MAC conference schools.

Pine-Richland is coached by Dr. Jon LeDonne, who is in his first year as head coach of the Rams. LeDonne coached at Penn Hills for the past five seasons and led the Indians to a WPIAL and PIAA championship in 2018. In his five seasons at Penn Hills, LeDonne boasted a coaching record of 46-13.

The North Allegheny and Pine-Richland rivalry was dormant in recent years due to reclassification in 2020. Tonight’s non-conference battle is the first time these teams have met since Pine-Richland defeated North Allegheny, 49-14, in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals. The Rams have won six of the last eight meetings with the Tigers.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:06 p.m. at Pine-Richland High School. As always, the contest will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show getting underway at 6:45 p.m. The pregame show includes an interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Tigers Prepare For Class 6A Clash With Central Catholic

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The undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (4-0, 1-0) prepare to lock horns tonight with Class 6A perennial power, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (2-2, 0-1).

The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in the classification, have maintained an unblemished record through four games and are coming off a 53-7 destruction of the Baldwin Fighting Highlanders last week. In a well-balanced effort, junior quarterback Logan Kushner passed for 156 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for two scores in the win against Baldwin. Junior wideout Khiryn Boyd accounted for 120 total yards and scored on a 33-yard run, and added an interception on defense. Senior Anthony Varlotta reeled in six passes for 65 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On the ground, senior tailback Andrew Gavlik rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries. The defense hounded Baldwin into seven sacks and just 126 total yards on the night.

North Allegheny hopes to build on last week’s performance against the traditionally strong Vikings of Central Catholic. A week ago, the Vikings fell to reigning state champ, Mt. Lebanon, 17-16, on a field goal as time expired. Despite the loss, Central Catholic did receive some good news with the return of All-American linebacker Anthony Speca and uber-talented receiver Peter Gonzalez from injury. Making an immediate impact upon his return, Gonzalez hauled in seven passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Gonzalez teamed up with junior quarterback Payton Wehner, who has passed for 683 yards and five touchdowns this season.

Central Catholic has appeared in the WPIAL championship game eight of the last nine seasons, winning five District 7 crowns in that span. Among those titles was a 2020 victory over North Allegheny in the Class 6A title tilt at Martorelli Stadium, 38-24.

The all-time record between the two teams is tied, 12-12-1. North Allegheny has won the last two “road” meetings against the nomadic Vikings. In 2020, the Tigers defeated the Vikings, 35-21, at Graham Field in Wilkinsburg with the help of a 108-yard rushing day by J.R. Burton and a pick-six by Khalil Dinkins. In 2019 at Shaler Middle School, North Allegheny rallied for an 11-10 win over Central Catholic. Percise Colon returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown with 2:55 remaining in the game. The subsequent two-point conversion was successful on a run by Peter Vardzel to give NA the lead. The defense held strong in the remaining minutes to complete the win.

The Tigers hope to earn another road win against the Vikings as tonight’s game will be played at West Mifflin High School. Kickoff for tonight’s contest is slated for 7:00 p.m. The pregame show on the North Allegheny Sports Network begins at 6:40 p.m., including a pregame interview with NA head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

 

NA Entertains Baldwin Tonight For Non-Conference Matchup

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The undefeated North Allegheny Tigers (3-0) plays host to the Baldwin Fighting Highlanders (1-2) tonight at Newman Stadium in an interconference clash between Class 6A and 5A teams.

The Tigers are off to a perfect start through three games and are coming off a thrilling come-from-behind win over District 10 power, McDowell, last week by a 29-18 decision. Trailing 18-7 late in the third quarter, the Tigers scored 22 unanswered points to claim the win. The comeback was sparked by junior quarterback Logan Kushner, who threw for 204 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another score. Junior wideout Khiryn Boyd hauled in 5 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winning score. The defense forced two turnovers and provided the game’s crucial play with a sack and forced fumble by Ian Zahorchak that led to the Boyd long touchdown on the very next play.

Tonight, North Allegheny welcomes in a Baldwin team that has lost two straight and is searching for its first winning season since 2003. After a week zero win against Brashear, 47-17, the Fighting Highlanders have been bounced by Thomas Jefferson, 35-19, and Upper St. Clair, 53-14, the last two weeks.

Baldwin head coach Tim Sweeney, who previously revived the football program at Derry and turned the Trojans into a Class 3A contender, is looking to do the same with the Fighting Highlanders. The third-year head coach has a great foundation to build around with talented juniors at running back, receiver and quarterback. Andrew Sharp is a two-year starter at tailback and the team’s leading rusher with 247 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Sharp is also a threat on special teams had had a 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the season opener against Brashear. Speedy wideout Devonte Jones can break off big plays as well and scored on a 90-yard touchdown against Thomas Jefferson in week one. Additionally, Jones scored on a 92-yard kickoff return against North Allegheny last season. The offense is facilitated by quarterback John Kozar, who has passed for 350 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions so far this year. Kozar gained valuable experience as a starter last season and continues to progress each week.

On defense, junior linebacker Keith Mincin is a hard-nosed tackler and leads the Fighting Highlanders with 27 stops and two interceptions. Baldwin boasts exceptional athletes in the secondary as well, with talented basketball players like Joey Carr and A.J. Cherico coming over to the football team. With a growing roster that is led by an experienced coaching staff, Baldwin is looking to challenge opponents in Class 5A this season in the Allegheny Six Conference.

Baldwin is back in Class 5A in 2022 after spending the last two seasons in Class 6A. NA and Baldwin didn’t play in 2020 due to COVID-19 protocols, but matched up last season for the first time in over 20 years. The Tigers ran roughshod over the Fighting Highlanders a season ago with a 61-14 triumph in the South Hills. Kushner tossed a trio of touchdown passes, while Andrew Gavlik, Aidan Buggey and Evan Lyon all added rushing touchdowns in a rout that saw the Tigers score the first 61 points of the game.  Prior to 2021, the last time NA and Baldwin had faced each other was in the first round of the 1998 WPIAL playoffs. On their way to a WPIAL title game appearance, the Tigers were led by NA Hall of Fame quarterback Brian Eyerman and rolled over the Highlanders, 40-0.

Tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Baldwin is slated for kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show set for 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.  

NA Hosts McDowell On Military Appreciation Night

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On Military Appreciation Night at Newman Stadium, the North Allegheny Tigers (2-0) take on the McDowell Trojans (2-0) for a week two non-conference fray.

The Tigers are coming off a 35-21 Tri-County Conference win at Canon-McMillan last week. NA built a 27-0 lead, overcame five turnovers, including four in the second half, and put the game way with a fourth quarter touchdown to lock up the victory. Senior running back Andrew Gavlik rushed for 110 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-clinching score in the fourth. Junior Evan Lyon had a phenomenal all-around performance, including a 60-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse, a 47-yard punt return that set up another score and a second half interception. Junior receiver Khiryn Boyd hauled in six passes for 126 yards and a touchdown, while junior quarterback Logan Kushner was 11-for-18 for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Defensively, Kevin O’Donnell led the team with eight tackles and a pair of sacks.

A perennial power out of District 10, McDowell has reached the state playoffs five consecutive seasons and reached the PIAA quarterfinals in 2021 before falling to eventual state champion, Mt. Lebanon. The Trojans boast a pair of impressive non-conference wins against premier out-of-state opponents, including a 56-37 win over Walsh Jesuit (OH) in week zero and a 34-28 overtime victory against Bennett (NY) last week.

McDowell has piled up the points on offense thanks to an effective run game that is spearheaded by senior running back Artis Simmons. Simmons rushed for over 1,200 yards last season as a junior, and so far this season, he’s toted the ball 43 times for 381 yards and three scores. Simmons had a 295-yard rushing performance against Walsh Jesuit in the season opener. Simmons runs behind a big and burly offensive line that is anchored by Penn State commit, Cooper Cousins.

The Trojans employ a two-quarterback system with senior Ben Moore as the top passing QB with 264 yards and four touchdowns through the air, along with 60 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. Senior Christian Santiago is a Swiss-army knife, who will line up all over the field, including at wide receiver.

McDowell is coached by Bo Orlando, a 1996 graduate of McDowell and former Penn State linebacker and pitcher on the Nittany Lions baseball team.

Tonight’s meeting between North Allegheny and McDowell is the first since the 2012 PIAA quarterfinals. Enroute to a PIAA championship that year, the Tigers rolled through the Trojans for a 56-6 win. NA quarterback Mack Leftwich was nearly perfect by completing 14-of-15 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for another score. Receiver Greg Garrity caught seven passes for 128 yards and touchdowns. Defensively, Elijah Zeise added a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. McDowell running back James Conner, now with the Arizona Cardinals, was held to a paltry 36 yards rushing in the game.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show beginning at 7:10 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.

Tigers Prepare For Conference Road Battle With Big Macs

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The North Allegheny Tigers (1-0) take to the road tonight for the Class 6A Tri-County Conference opener with the Canon-McMillan Big Macs (0-1). Tonight’s game is a rematch of last year’s WPIAL quarterfinal between the two teams, a contest the Tigers won, 49-26, on the strength of a career-best passing day from quarterback Logan Kushner. The NA signal caller threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Since Canon-McMillan has made the jump to the largest classification in 2018, North Allegheny has won six in a row against the Big Macs, including two playoff victories.

Last week, North Allegheny posted a 41-0 drubbing of Allderdice in Week Zero. Already named an all-conference linebacker as a sophomore in 2021, junior Tyree Alualu made his debut at running back last week and carried the ball 12 times to the tune of 92 yards and two touchdowns. Alualu added a juggling touchdown catch in the second quarter to help key the blowout. Kushner was once again efficient, completing 11 of 17 passes for 167 yards and threw touchdowns. Junior receiver Khiryn Boyd hauled in seven of those passes for 105 yards. Along with Alualu, also reeling in TD passes were Nate Spak and Daniel Sellers. The NA defense limited Allerdice to just 78 yards of total offense and forced a pair of turnovers. The shutout was the first for the Tigers since a 35-0 whitewash of Canon-McMillan on Oct. 16, 2020.

Canon-McMillan is coming off a 35-28 loss to Penn-Trafford last week and gave the reigning Class 5A state champions all they could handle. Despite trailing 28-7 at intermission, the Big Macs fought back in the second half thanks to a 309 yard and four touchdown passing effort from junior quarterback Mikey Evans. Senior Austyn Winkleblech was the big play man with touchdown catches of 69 and 64 yards. Winkleblech, a Pitt recruit in baseball, finished the game with four receptions for 150 yards and three scores. Senior running back Jake Kasper takes over for Ryan Angott, who graduated, at tailback and rushed for 171 yards against the Warriors last week.

Other notable CM players that the Tigers will need to be aware of tonight will be offensive and defensive linemen Matt McMahon and Andrew Kocan. McMahon is the younger brother of senior linebacker Kent McMahon and Kocan is a Virginia Military Institute (VMI) commit. Both of the McMahon brothers were Big 56 Conference honorable mentions last season, along with junior linebacker Gene Calgaro and senior safety Austin Hillenbrand.

Kickoff for tonight’s game between North Allegheny and Canon-McMillan at AHN Stadium in Canonsburg is set for 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show getting underway at 6:40 p.m. Randy Gore and Andrew Heck will have the call. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.  

Tigers Kickoff 2022 Season Tonight Against Allderdice

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The North Allegheny football team kicks off the 2022 season tonight with a Week 0 matchup against the Allderdice Dragons from the Pittsburgh City League. The Tigers are coming off a 7-5 season and a sixth consecutive appearance in the WPIAL semifinals. Eleven all-conference players graduated from last year’s playoff team but NA still brings back a wealth of talent to this season’s roster.

On offense, junior Logan Kushner returns at quarterback after earning the starting job as sophomore. A Big 56 Conference honorable mention, Kushner passed for 1,427 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2021. Additionally, the NA signal caller rushed for 178 yards and four more scores.

Kushner’s favorite target from a season ago also returns, first-team All-Big 56 wideout Khiryn Boyd. As a sophomore, Boyd hauled in a team-best 26 receptions for 454 yards and six touchdowns. A multi-purpose dynamo, Boyd added 170 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and is threat in the return game. Other players that will see time at receiver this season includes Anthony Varlotta, Rourke Kennedy, Ian Zahorchak, Evan Lyon and Campbell Melzer.

At running back, 2021’s leading rusher J.R. Burton has graduated, leaving a void in the backfield. Eager to fill that void are junior Tyree Alualu and senior Andrew Gavlik. The most experienced returnee in the running game is fullback Aidan Buggey, who rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown last season. Senior Nick Berarducci should also see time at fullback.

The offensive line is anchored by Duquesne University commit, senior Abdallah Daud at left guard. Joining Daud at the line of scrimmage will be senior Chase Rodak, sophomore Jack Yatchenko, senior Sam Lenchner, junior Cameron Chmura and senior Ryan Burns. Tight ends, junior Daniel Sellers and senior Brayden Kushner, will assist in opening holes and the passing game.

On defense, Sellers, Chmura, Yatchenko and Buggey will be regulars on the defensive front. The linebackers are the most experience group on the defensive side of the football. Inside linebacker Alualu is the leading returning tackler with 48 stops, 3.5 sacks and an interception in 2021, earning him first-team all-conference honors. Senior Nate Spak is a fixture at outside linebacker with his bone-rattling hits. Spak made 25 tackles last season. Joining Alualu and Spak as starting linebackers are senior Kevin O’Donnell and Zahorchak. In the secondary, Boyd, Lyon, Melzer and senior Marco Pascarella will patrol the defensive skies for North Allegheny. Pascarella is committed to the University of Utah for lacrosse and is an All-American long-stick middie for the NA boys’ lacrosse team.

In the kicking game, Kennedy is a four-star punter and will utilize his booming kicks to help in NA’s effort for field position each week. Kennedy, Nick Van Winkle and Peter Notaro are all vying for place kicking duties.

North Allegheny is led by head coach Art Walker, Jr., who is entering his 18th season as Tigers head coach and 25th year overall. Walker boasts an overall record of 219-65 with five WPIAL championship victories and six title game appearances.

Allderdice comes into tonight’s contest as the reigning City League champions after defeating Westinghouse, 14-0, in a title game upset in 2021. The Dragons were 4-6 overall last season and fell to North Allegheny in the Week 0 season opener a year ago, 47-14.

Kickoff for tonight’s season opener is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Newman Stadium. The game will be broadcast live via the internet on the North Allegheny Sports Network with the pregame show set for 7:10 p.m. The pregame show will include a season preview interview with Tigers head coach Art Walker. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.