WEXFORD, Pa. — Fueled by a first hat trick from sophomore Khiryn Boyd, North Allegheny hockey jumped out to a huge early lead to beat Hempfield Friday night.
Wait, it was a football game?
Not many football players record hat tricks, but when Boyd scored his third touchdown of the first half, well before the halfway point of the second quarter against Hempfield Area Friday night, he gave NA an insurmountable advantage.
North Allegheny clinched a playoff spot with a 65-13 drubbing of Hempfield, led by Boyd’s first half hat trick and a complete team effort across all three levels.
It was a cold, misty night at Newman Stadium in Wexford, Pa., but North Allegheny wasted very little time in heating in a game that was effectively over by halftime. Hempfield appeared to be ready for an early fight, responding to North Allegheny’s opening score with a few big plays in the air, but the Spartans were unable to keep up with NA’s heavy dose of impact plays on each drive.
A bruising drive on NA’s first possession, capped by a six-yard touchdown run for senior Jr Burton was matched by a Hempfield touchdown from Gab Benjamin set up by some big plays through the air to 15.
However, a shootout was not in the works after all. The NA defense clamped down on the Hempfield offense, and the Tigers’ offense let their claws out in a dominating display of scoring.
Boyd returned the Hempfield kickoff 99 yards for a score, racing right through the Spartans’ special teams unit. NA sophomore quarterback Logan Kushner turned a 3rd-and-3 in 67-yard rushing touchdown on a draw play. And Boyd scored on a 16-yard receiving touchdown and a four-yard rushing touchdown within 20 seconds of the other.
At 35-6 with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter, it was looking ugly for Hempfield. And it only got worse.
NA senior Cole Dorn, after hauling in a beautiful 36-yard over-the-shoulder catch to set up Boyd’s receiving touchdown early in the quarter, took a quick curl route 45 yards through the Hempfield defense to make it a 42-6 lead.
Even when NA made mistakes, a fumble in the red zone toward the end of the half, the resulting Hempfield drive ended with a safety. With the ball across the Spartans’ 40-yard line with 20 seconds left in the half, NA mercifully kneeled to end the half with a 44-6 lead.
NA received the second half kickoff, and senior quarterback Tanner Potts led another scoring drive — capped by a 22-yard rushing touchdown from Potts. And with a short field from a Hempfield turnover, Potts capitalized again with his legs. He brushed off a face mask hold, juked out multiple Spartans’ defenders and dashed into the end zone from 37 yards out to make it a 58-6 game late in the third quarter.
And off another Hempfield turnover, NA junior Steven Palermo bounced a run outside and raced 50 yards down the sideline to further widen the Tigers’ lead to 59 points.
Hempfield, however, continued to fight, with sophomore wide receiver Lucas Moore dashing into the end zone from six yards out to narrow the deficit to 65-13. Obviously, it was too little, too late from the Spartans.
North Allegheny improves to 6-3 (4-2 Class 6-A) with the win while Hempfield falls to 2-7 (0-6 Class 6-A) with the loss.
North Allegheny and Hempfield each have one game remaining this season, but each team will head in different directions afterward. NA can clinch a quarterfinals bye with a win over Seneca Valley while Hempfield concludes its season against Norwin.