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North Allegheny rolls over Coatesville to claim 3rd PIAA AAAA title

Written by: on Saturday, December 15th, 2012

HERSHEY, Pa. – After drenching head coach Art Walker with ice cold Gatorade following the team’s ninth touchdown, senior linebacker Kevin Edwards had four words for his mentor.

“Get sticky!” Edwards bellowed. “Get sticky!”

Coatesville’s prolific offense, spearheaded by quarterback Emmett Hunt and speedy back Daquan Worley, found solving NA’s defense to be quite a sticky situation.

North Allegheny (16-0) became the 10th team from the WPIAL since 2004 to complete a season with 16 victories, claiming its second PIAA AAAA title in three years with a 63-28 mercy rule rout of District 1 champion Coatesville (13-3) Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium.

In PIAA mercy rule games, the clock runs continuously when one team builds a lead of 35 points or more in the second half of a game. The clock only stops for possession changes, injuries, timeouts or scoring plays. If the losing team draws within the 35-point margin, the running clock continues anyway for the duration of the contest.

The Tigers’ 63 points scored set a new PIAA record for most points scored in a championship game, regardless of classification, topping the 57-point mark set by Dunmore in the 1989 Class A title game against Keystone, of District 9. The 63 points is also a new AAAA title game record, breaking CB West’s 56-point outburst against New Castle in 1998.

North Allegheny and Coatesville combined for 91 points, the highest combined PIAA finals single-game point total, breaking the record of 77 between Manheim Central and Pine-Richland in the 2003 AAA title game, which was a double overtime game played in a heavy snowstorm.

Speaking of storms, Coatesville found itself on the eye wall of North Allegheny’s defensive hurricane. Before the Red Raiders even knew what hit them, they trailed by 21 points.

Credit the senior Edwards and “The Bandits,” the nickname given to the NA defense, which robbed the Raiders’ of any championship hopes within the first 8:04 of the game. Edwards, who had 4.5 tackles, picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards and returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown and 21-0 NA lead. One Raider series prior, Brendan Coniker picked up a Dre Boggs fumble and raced 80 yards down the far sideline for a touchdown.

A chain dangling around his neck, Edwards looked ready to go another 12 rounds.

“The game is all about three phases,” Edwards said. “Our offense gets a lot of spotlight, and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we have a very stingy defense. Coach (Doug) Brinkley does a great job getting us ready.”

Coatesville entered the game averaging 198.8 yards passing per game, but NA held the Raiders to just 131 yards, 43 of them coming on a late touchdown against the running mercy rule clock.

“That (facing that passing offense) motivated us, that’s exactly what it did,” Edwards said. “It motivated us to show them what NA Tiger football is all about.”

“Kevin Edwards has done it all year,” Walker said. “He’s a guy who gets knocked for not being 6’3 or 6’4, but if he doesn’t wind up with a full ride from somewhere, they’re missing the boat.”

After Coatesville cut a 35-14 halftime deficit to 35-21 thanks to a 1-yard run from Hunt, his second of the game, North Allegheny rolled to 28 consecutive points to put the game out of reach.

“We hurt ourselves with mistakes,” admitted Raiders’ head coach Matt Ortega.

Mack Leftwich, NA’s senior quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, completing 16-of-20 passes for 199 yards and rushing for another 90 on 16 totes. He finished his career with 65 touchdown passes, one of nine WPIAL field generals with at least 60 touchdown passes in his career, and sixth all-time in the league.

“Losing (to Central Dauphin last year) really set with us and motivated us to get back here,” Leftwich said. “This is a great finish to my career.” (Leftwich finished 30-1 overall as a starter for NA).

Leftwich also gave a shout out to two other “bandits” – Chas Smith and Ben Schweiger – “Those are guys who worked hard but didn’t always get the credit or spotlight,” Leftwich said.

“Everyone was a team,” Edwards said. “We’re all very close. We’re friends. We care about the game and care about each other. It was tough to see this come to an end.”

Winners of 45 of their last 47 games and three-time defending WPIAL AAAA champions, Walker tried to impress upon the media gathered around him the magnitude of the last three years.

“These guys have played the equivalent of five WPIAL regular seasons,” Walker said. “I know that’s tough to do because I’m a head football coach, but I’m not sure if everybody knows how difficult that is. This senior group was unbelievable with their leadership and work ethic.”

And, like glue, it stuck.

NOTES: Daquan Worley, Coatesville’s junior running back, set a new AAAA title game record with an 89-yard touchdown run in the first half. He rushed for 160 yards on 17 carries……..Leftwich finished his senior season with 3,331 yards passing, which ranks 11th all-time in state lore. Hunt finished with 3,113……..North Allegheny rolled up 456 yards of offense and 26 first downs……..Coatesville’s 28 points tied the Ches-Mont and District 1 single-season team season scoring total record, with 630 points, matching the 1996 Downingtown Whippets. The Whippets, however, scored the 630 points in only 14 games, while the Raiders hit the mark in 16…….North Allegheny finished its season with 671 points, easily a school record, which ranks 14th in state history and is the seventh-highest single season team scoring total in the WPIAL……..Walker became the second WPIAL football coach with multiple 16-0 seasons; Clairton’s Tom Nola is the other. Walker is the third WPIAL head football coach to complete two undefeated and untied state championship seasons, joining Nola (2010-12) and Upper St. Clair’s Jim Render (1989, 2006). Walker’s undefeated seasons came in 2004 and 2012.

Coatesville 7 7 7 7 – 28
N. Allegheny 28 7 14 14 – 63

1st Qtr
NA – Skylar Cox 8 pass from Mack Leftwich (Ben Ziolkowski kick)
NA – Brendan Coniker 80 fumble return (Ziolkowski kick)
NA – Kevin Edwards 52 fumble return (Jason Buchert kick)
CVILLE – Emmett Hunt 1 run (Jon Bollenbach kick)
NA – Leftwich 5 run (Ziolkowski kick)
2nd Qtr
NA – Alex DiCiantis 22 run (Buchert kick)
CVILLE – Daquan Worley 89 run (Bollenbach kick)
3rd Qtr
CVILLE – Hunt 1 run (Bollenbach kick)
NA – Gregg Garrity 17 pass from Leftwich (Ziolkowski kick)
NA – DiCiantis 1 run (Buchert kick)
4th Qtr
NA – DiCiantis 1 run (Ziolkowski kick)
NA – Nick Cully 60 run (Buchert kick)
CVILLE – Dre Boggs 43 pass from Hunt (Bollenbach kick)

Rushes-yds 29-152 44-257
Passing 11-18-1 16-20-0
Passing yds 131 199
Total offense 283 456
1st downs 11 26
Penalties 3-10 4-35
Turnovers 4 2

Individual statistics

RUSHING: CVILLE: Daquan Worley 17-160 TD; Dre Boggs 4-39; Chris Jones 1-minus-17; Emmett Hunt 7-minus-30 2 TD. NA: Alex DeCiantis 21-115 3 TD; Mack Leftwich 16-90 TD; Nick Cully 1-60 TD; Josh Bergman 2-3; Sean Idowu 2-minus-2; Cage Galupi 2-minus-9.

PASSING: CVILLE: Hunt 11-18-1-131 TD. NA: Leftwich 16-20-0-199 2 TD.

RECEIVING: CVILLE: Boggs 4-71 TD; Chris Jones 3-12; Tyler Burke 2-32; Jay Stocker 1-11; Daquan Worley 1-5. NA: Gregg Garrity 5-55 TD; Zach Lyon 4-54; Skylar Cox 3-32 TD; Brendan Coniker 2-24; DeCiantis 1-19; Greg Baum 1-15.

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