In a game between two teams that are always in the conversation to win a WPIAL title, it was only fitting that North Allegheny would get Art Walker, Jr. his 200th victory as a head coach in a thrilling 11-10 victory over Central Catholic.
Over his career, Walker, Jr. doesn’t remember winning a game like Friday night’s against Central Catholic where his team scored one late to take their first lead, but it’s just good to get the win anyway you can.
“It’s tough to remember them all, but they all add up to this moment,” said Walker, Jr. “And for it to be against Central where I was a head coach for seven years, I know a lot of those guys, I’ll remember this one not because of 200, but because of how we finished, how our coaches did a great job and how our kids never quit.”
Walker, Jr. was very grateful to all the coaches he’s worked with and all the players he’s coached over the year with all the work everyone has put in to be successful on the field every Friday night.
“It’s awesome, but there’s so many kids that contributed to it and so many coaches that contributed to it that I’m fortunate that I get it,” said Walker, Jr. “It’s not about me, it’s all about we, it’s about us, it’s about the guys I’ve coached and the guys I’ve coached with. They’re the ones that make the difference, so it’s all about them.”
JUST THE BEGINNING
Along with Walker, Jr.’s 200th victory as a Head Coach, North Allegheny improved to 3-0 on the season with the victory Friday night and are setting themselves up to potentially do something special this year, but the players know there is still plenty of work that still needs to be done.
“It was a great win, a great battle, but tomorrow we got film, workout and Monday’s back at it ready for the next competition,” said North Allegheny Running Back Percise Colon. “There’s no days off, glad we got the win, but next week is a new competition.”
The North Allegheny players say there team is like a brotherhood and they will fight with each for all 48 minutes of each game they play all season.
“This is a brotherhood, its all family,” said Colon. “There’s no “I” in team, we work our butts off in the summer, the off-season, just everything and times like this when it gets tough that’s when you got to connect even more and perform just like that (tonight).”
Tigers Linebacker/Tight End Amosis Porter, Jr. echoed the same sentiments as Colon did about how this team has a strong bond and is fighting for the sames goals over the course of the season.
“We stayed as a family, everybody fought together and we just had fun on that field,” said Porter, Jr. “We got a bond that can’t be broken, it’s a brotherhood here.”
With a win like Friday night over Central Catholic Porter, Jr. says it, “Just gets us closer and we are going to work harder and be better.”
IT WAS A “SPECIAL” NIGHT ALL AROUND
In a game that had a combined 17 punts Friday night, it was only fitting that it was a special teams touchdown that helped lift North Allegheny to it’s third victory of the season.
The play was the proof about why teams need to put in the practice on special teams during the week because you don’t know when a big play like that is going to happen during the season. It paid off for North Allegheny Friday night as the punt return team was going for the punt block during that return and even though they didn’t get the block, the punt return team got back to make the blocks for Colon on the return.
“We couldn’t do anything offensively, so I said go after the punt, go after it and lets see if we can make something happen,” said Walker, Jr. “Well, the opposite, I didn’t think we’d get the return, I thought we’d get decent field position and kind of come out swinging, but he just had a great effort. And guys, give them credit, they went after the block, didn’t get it and they came back and they got blocks. Hats off to special teams, last two scores were theirs.”
Central Catholic’s defensive line kept Colon in check Friday night, but he was able to find the space he needed when the Tigers needed him to make the play.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t execute on offense as much as we wanted to,” said Colon. “But, hey that’s why we spend an hour and 30 minutes on special teams (during practice), special teams is very important in the game. For example, like (what) just happened out on the field.”
Colon’s teammates are not surprised that he was able to break one and they view him as a leader on the field, in the huddle and in the locker room.
“He wants to help everyone else and not just himself, it’s not all about him,” said Porter, Jr. “He’s thinking about the team before himself.”
North Allegheny is going to be a team to watch for the rest of the season as they continue to work hard and work to improve in all three facets of the game: offense, defense and special teams.