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