NA Upended By Central Catholic In Class 6A Showdown

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Central Catholic forced four turnovers and junior running back Elijah Faulkner rushed for 229 yards and four scores as the visiting Vikings upended the reigning WPIAL champion North Allegheny Tigers, 50-22, on Friday night at Newman Stadium.

In a clash of Class 6A heavyweights, it was North Allegheny who landed the first punch by scoring the game’s first touchdown on a 9-play, 43-yard march that was spearheaded by the running of Tyree Alualu. The senior running back carried the ball four times for 19 yards on the drive, punctuating the possession on a 3-yard rushing touchdown for a 6-0 lead. The Tigers added a two-point conversion pass from Logan Kushner to Evan Lyon for an 8-0 lead with 7:03 to play in the first period. The drive was keyed by a 13-yard pass completion by Kushner to James Donaldson on a 3rd and 5 to set up the Alualu score on the very next play. Donaldson led the Tigers in receiving with six receptions for 74 yards on the night.

Central Catholic countered with an 8-play, 80-yard drive that culminated on a 30-yard touchdown run by Faulkner, cutting the NA lead to 8-6. The Vikings tacked on a two-point conversion pass from Payton Wehner to Peter Gonzalez to knot the score at 8-8 with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter.

North Allegheny seemed poised to regain the lead on the next possession, driving to the CC 42-yard line before a turnover short-circuited the drive. On a 3rd and 2, senior linebacker Cole Sullivan produced a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow linebacker Anthony Speca and returned 42 yards to the NA 13-yard line. Three plays later, Faulkner toted the football into the end zone on a two-yard scoring run to give the Vikings the lead, 15-8, with 1:26 left in the opening stanza.

Running back Tyree Alualu rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown vs. Central Catholic.

In the second quarter, the Tigers put together a prompt three-play scoring drive that covered 55 yards, sparked by a 23-yard run by Alualu and capped on a 26-yard rushing touchdown by Kushner to deadlock the score at 15-15 with 7:21 left before halftime.

On the ensuing possession, Central Catholic regained the advantage on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated on a 13-yard touchdown pass by Wehner to Sullivan for a 21-15 advantage with 3:30 to go in the second quarter. The extra point kick was blocked by Alualu, keeping the CC lead at six points.

After a three-and-out by the Tigers, Wehner found Sullivan again for a 9-yard scoring strike to extend the lead to 27-15 with 40 seconds left before intermission. A two-point conversion pass from Wehner to sophomore Colsen Gatten brought the score to 29-15 at the half. Wehner completed 11 of 17 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

In the third quarter, the crucial turning point of the game came on a muffed punt by the Tigers that was recovered by Sullivan at the NA 20-yard line with 4:36 on the clock. Three plays later, Faulkner scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to increase the Central Catholic lead to 36-15.

Faulkner scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the night with 10:56 to play in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run for a 43-15 lead. Kushner’s QB sneak from 1-yard out cut the CC lead to 43-22 with 8:05 remaining in the game, before running back Amari Shields capped the scoring on the evening with a 62-yard touchdown run with 6:06 left in the contest to close out a 50-22 victory for the visiting Vikings.

For North Allegheny, Alualu led the ground game with 12 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, earning Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors. Kushner rushed 16 times for 72 yards and two scores. Defensively, Liam Flaherty led the team in tackles with 17 stops on the night. Alualu also totaled double figures in tackles with 11.

Following their first loss of the season, the Tigers fall to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Tri-County Five Conference. Central Catholic remains unbeaten at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference. North Allegheny looks to bounce back next week on homecoming night against Pine-Richland in a non-conference affair.

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

Central Catholic151471450
North Allegheny870722