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WPIAL

North Allegheny Outlasts Central Catholic for WPIAL Title, 35-21

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North Allegheny's Logan Kushner looks to pass doing the second quarter of the WPIAL Class-6A championship game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at Norwin High School Stadium. Image by Jared Todhunter

NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. — With two big-time high school programs meeting in the WPIAL 6A championship, many expected a heavyweight fight. Central Catholic (7-4) and North Allegheny (10-1) threw haymakers all night and eventually the Tigers knocked out the Vikings, 35-21, winning NA’s first WPIAL Class-6A football championship.

The two teams went back and forth exchanging punts early in the game, but it did not take much longer for the fireworks to start. An offensive shootout did start with a defensive touchdown, though. Central Catholic botched a handoff attempt that left the ball bouncing into the hands of Daniel Sellers. Sellers ran into the end zone untouched and North Allegheny took a 6-0 lead.

Khiryn Boyd had a great defensive stop to force a punt on the next possession, and then Boyd took to work on offense. He made a head fake and got wide open inside on a post route that sent him 41 yards into the end zone, giving NA a 13-0 lead.

However, you knew that Central Catholic was not a team that was going to die that easily. They immediately went on their best drive of the night to that point, ending with a Vernon Settles rushing touchdown.

NA drove down on their next possession but Settles made a play on the defensive end. Settles jumped an out route and forced an interception, and then finished off the response drive with a 19-yard touchdown reception. The sequence was reminiscent of a centerfielder robbing a home run, then stepping to bat and hitting one the next inning.

Still, Boyd was making plays on both sides of the ball as well and immediately matched his opponent. Boyd added his second touchdown of the game on the second play of the next drive, a 69-yard touchdown where he once again created separation via the double move.

PCC trailed 21-14 but made sure to even things up before halftime. They went on a four-minute drive that ended was aided by a key Cole Sullivan reception, and was capped off by a Peyton Wehner touchdown run. The score gave an even 21-21 at halftime.

Logan Kusher started the scoring in the second half with an explosive run. On third down, he kept the ball himself and went 45 yards to the house to make it 28-21.

PCC went three-and-out on their next two possessions, and a bad punt gave NA great field position. Andrew Gavlick capitalized with a heroic run in which he bounced off defenders, kept his balance, and took defenders with him into the end zone, giving NA a 35-21 lead.

Central Catholic drove into the red zone, but an incompletion on fourth down caused a turnover. They got the ball back and got all the way to the one-yard line. However, Peyton Wehner was stuffed, and the team turned it over on downs.

North Allegheny will play State College next week in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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