NA – PR Preview
Written by: Josh Funk on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
The Game: North Allegheny (7 AAAA) @ Pine-Richland (7 AAAA)
Date: Thursday, October 9, 2008, from Pine-Richland HS in Gibsonia
2008 Record: North Allegheny (4-2), Pine-Richland (2-4)
About North Allegheny: The Tigers have literally done an about-face from its 1-2 start, which included a seven point loss at Mansion Park Stadium (the first loss in Art Walker, Jr.’s career at Mansion Park), outscoring its opposition 115-42 in that span, including an impressive 56-14 victory over pass-happy Seneca Valley and a 34-6 rout of Shaler.
Last season, NA was more about running, but, this season, the attack has been more balanced. Senior signal caller Mike Locke, after throwing for 950 yards in ’07, Locke has completed 64 percent of his passes for 890 yards and nine touchdowns. The Tigers’ aerial attack averages just over 148 yards per contest. Senior Brian Austin is Locke’s favorite target, hauling in 33 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns.
But the NA ground attack is just as effective. Sophomore back Alex Papson leads the black and gold with 716 yards and nine touchdowns on 103 attempts. Papson has three career 100-yard rushing games, including a 133-yard performance as a freshman against Upper St. Clair.
North Allegheny averages 33.5 points per game, and is allowing 16.7 points per contest.
About Pine-Richland: The Rams, in their first year in “AAAA,” are 2-4, but that’s a deceiving 2-4 record. Pine-Richland’s four losses have come by a combined 32 points, including a narrow 22-21 loss to a one-loss North Hills squad two weeks ago.
The Rams very nearly pulled off a 21-point comeback against Montour in Week 1 after losing Vinny Nittoli to a leg injury, but fell short by eight points, 35-27. And, last week, the Rams defeated upstart Butler, 21-14.
Pine-Richland, which has won 65 of its last 79 games (since the start of 2002), is averaging 19 points per game, topping the 20-point plateau four times and the 30-point plateau once.
North Allegheny’s stats from Maxpreps.com; Pine-Richland’s stats from the MSA Sports Network website, www.msasportsnetwork.com.
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