NA To Clash With St. Joseph’s Prep With PIAA Title At Stake

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Powerhouse programs from opposite ends of the state will do battle on Saturday night with a PIAA Class 6A title at stake when the North Allegheny Tigers (13-1) take on the St. Joseph’s Prep Hawks (12-1) at Chapman Field in Mechanicsburg.

Winners of three PIAA crowns, North Allegheny captured state gold in 1990, 2010 and 2012. Following NA’s reign as champions in 2012, St. Joseph’s Prep has dominated the state’s largest classification. Tonight, the Hawks are appearing in the PIAA championship for the 10th time in the last 11 years, having won seven state titles in that span. St. Joe’s only blemishes with state gold on the line came in 2017 to Pine-Richland (41-21) and in 2020 to Mt. Lebanon (35-17). The Hawks are 7-2 in state championship games and the Tigers are 3-0.

St. Joseph’s Prep enters tonight’s game ranked No. 6 in the country according to the latest USA Today High School Super 25 rankings. The Hawks only loss of the season came in week zero to IMG Academy, the fourth-ranked team in the nation, by a narrow 17-14 decision. Since then, the Hawks have soared to 12 consecutive wins, including a 49-0 whitewash of Central Bucks South last week in the PIAA semifinals.

Riding a nine-game winning streak, North Allegheny most recently defeated District 3 champion Harrisburg in the PIAA semifinals, 24-12. The Tigers used a strong effort on special teams and defense, along with a power rushing attack to seize control of the game. Senior quarterback Logan Kushner rushed for 164 yds and two touchdowns, and senior running back Tyree Alualu opened the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Aside from one busted play in the second quarter, the North Allegheny defense hounded dual-threat quarterback Shawn King into two sacks and one interception by Dylan Langdon.

North Allegheny will contend with another stellar dual-threat quarterback in the form of senior signal caller Samaj Jones in tonight’s championship. A University of Cincinnati commit, Jones is the No. 5-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country by ESPN for the Class of 2024. He throws passes to three future Division wideouts, including David Washington (Kentucky commit), Brandon Rehmann (WVU commit) and Elijah Jones (Cincinnati commit). There’s no lack of talent in a well-balanced backfield either where senior Kaheim Phillips, senior Eric Sanchez and junior Isaiah West have all rushed for over 500 yards each this season.

The champions of the Philadelphia Catholic League boast more Power 5 talent on defense, headlined by senior linebacker Nick McGlynn, who is an Army commit. St. Joe’s allows just 8.2 points per game on defense.

North Allegheny, the WPIAL champions for the second consecutive year and sixth time overall, possess a high-powered offense and rock-solid defense as well. The Tigers score 44 points per game and permit 17 points per contest.

NA is 11-2 all-time in PIAA playoff games and St. Joe’s is 26-2 all-time in the state playoffs. Tonight will mark the first ever meeting between the two programs.

North Allegheny has played a team from District 12 before in the PIAA championship. In 2010, the Tigers blanked La Salle College High School by a 21-0 decision.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is set for 7:10 p.m. from Chapman Field at Cumberland Valley High School. As always, the game will be broadcast live via the internet by the North Allegheny Sports Network. Your hometown broadcasters of Randy Gore and Jonathan Spina will have the call, with the pregame show getting underway at 6:45 p.m. To listen to tonight’s game, click here.