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WPIAL

Mt. Lebanon Routs North Allegheny, Improves to 6-0

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MT. LEBANON, Pa. — Everyone figured it would only take a matter of time until Bob Palko had the Mt. Lebanon football program trending towards competing for WPIAL championships. After going 7-5, and 4-3 in his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, it looks as though he has his best team yet as they dominated North Allegheny 51-20 in route to going 6-0, with a 3-0 conference record.

The Mt. Lebanon defense came out with their eyes on the football. They turned the football over twice on the first two possessions, one via an interception, and one via a fumble recovery. The interception by Matt Wertz put the Blue Devils in scoring range. This set up a two-yard run from Alex Tecza, his first of four on the day, which gave a 7-0 Mt. Lebanon lead.

Mt. Lebanon could not capitalize on the second turnover but did force a punt on the next drive, which led to Eli Heidenreich catching a touchdown on a quick out to push the score to 14-0 in the first quarter. Heidenreich put the ball on the ground on the ensuing drive but another Blue Devil stand led to an impressive catch and run by Grayson Dee in which he plowed over a defender on his way carrying a defender to the one-yard line. A quick rush for Joey Daniels put Mt. Lebo up 21-0 in the second quarter.

North Allegheny was desperate to keep the game close and did just that as JR Burton exploded for two long runs, and Khiyrin Boyd pushed a jet sweep into the end zone to cut the lead to 21-7 before the half.

North Allegheny came out fighting in the second half and answered quickly. Burton ripped off a 61-yard run to cut the lead to 21-14. However, that was just a signal for Tecza to put the game into his own hands.

Tecza had a huge return to the 40, then ripped off a 42-yard run. He caught a ten-yard pass, then punched a drive that was all his, increasing the lead to 28-14. Eli Heidenreich took a 40-yard screen pass down to the one on the following drive and Tecza punched in his third touchdown to make the game 34-14.

Brenden Anderson forced an interception on the first play of the North Allegheny ensuing drive, and Tecza caught his first touchdown, but the fourth total which made the game 41-14.

Dwayne Taylor caught a touchdown to cut the lead to 41-20, but all that did was signal to Mt. Lebanon to keep their foot on the gas. Joey Daniels hit Heidenreich over the top and the lead jumped to 48-20. A late interception led to a field goal that gave Mt. Lebanon the 51-20 final.

Mt. Lebanon now puts their hot start to the test with a huge game against Pittsburgh Central Catholic next week. North Allegheny will look to rebound next week as they host Norwin.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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