NA Ready To Rumble With Canon-McMillan in WPIAL Class 6A Semifinals
For the third consecutive year and fourth time in the last five season, the North Allegheny Tigers (9-1) and the Canon-McMillan Big Macs (6-4) will face off in the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs. The Tigers have won all four of the previous playoff matchups, while the Big Macs are searching for their first playoff win since a 22-0 win over Belle Vernon in 2004.
The second-seeded Tigers and third-seeded Big Macs met back in week one, with North Allegheny earning a 30-6 win at Newman Stadium. NA jumped out to a 23-0 lead with 2:53 left in the third quarter thanks to a 171-yard rushing performance from quarterback Logan Kushner. The senior signal caller rushed for three touchdowns and added one passing score to go along with 107 yards through the air. In last year’s WPIAL Class 6A semifinal, Kushner scored the game’s only touchdown with a 1-yard rushing tote with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter in a 7-0 victory for the Tigers.
Since week one, both teams have steadily improved throughout the season. North Allegheny has won five in a row entering tonight’s contest, including a 49-14 win at Seneca Valley in the regular season finale. Again, it was Kushner who had the big night with 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also tossed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Khiryn Boyd in the second quarter. Senior running back Tyree Alualu carried the ball seven times for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Despite an injury to quarterback Mikey Evans midway through the season, Canon-McMillan still won its most games since joining Class 6A and played tough against upper-tier teams in Class 5A. Following a hard-fought loss to Peters Township, 23-10, in week eight, Canon-McMillan capped the regular season with a dominant 41-28 win over Mt. Lebanon that wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate. The Big Macs ran away from the Blue Devils thanks to a 133 yard, two touchdown rushing effort from senior tailback Zachary Welsh. The transfer from Wash High has been impressive this season, posting six 100-yard rushing days and carrying the ball for a total of 1,291 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
The Big Macs defense is also stout, likes of Delaware commit Kaeden Singleton and sophomore sensation T.J. Sabatucci a defensive end. Junior Matt McMahon adds defensive strength and senior linebacker Geno Calgaro is a physical player and the team’s leading tackler (125) for the third consecutive season.
Since Canon-McMillan joined the WPIAL’s largest classification, North Allegheny has won nine consecutive games against the Big Macs. The Tigers are hoping to extend that streak tonight for a second straight appearance in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game.
Kickoff for tonight’s WPIAL semifinal is slated for 7:00 p.m. at Newman Stadium. As always, the game will be broadcast live and will be FREE to listen to, with the pregame show set for 6:40 p.m. Randy Gore and Jonathan Spina will have the call on the North Allegheny Sports Network. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.