Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class Aaaa Championship: North Allegheny 21, Woodland Hills 14 Tigers Grab 3rd Title in Row Mack Leftwich's 3 Td Passes Make Difference as Woodland Hills' Upset Bid Falls a Little Short

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Class Aaaa Championship: North Allegheny 21, Woodland Hills 14 Tigers Grab 3rd Title in Row Mack Leftwich's 3 Td Passes Make Difference as Woodland Hills' Upset Bid Falls a Little Short

Article excerpt

For two seasons, North Allegheny found ways to be the best team in WPIAL Class AAAA. Doing so a third consecutive season offered a formidable challenge, especially Friday afternoon at Heinz Field against Woodland Hills in the championship game.

But quarterback Mack Leftwich answered the challenge, connecting with tight end Zach Lyon for two touchdown passes that lifted the Tigers to a 21-14 victory against the Wolverines. The win gave No. 1- ranked North Allegheny (13-0) the distinction of being the first program in Class AAAA history to win three WPIAL titles in a row

"It's a collective thing with the group of seniors that we have - - they've experienced it since they were in 10th grade and they have the work ethic, the sacrifice, the commitment that's involved," North Allegheny coach Art Walker said.

"To have a group that's done so much over the past three years, for me as a coach, is remarkable to see."

Though success is nothing new to the Tigers, who won each of their first 11 games by double digits, the final obstacle proved most difficult.

After Leftwich found Lyon for a 44-yard touchdown in the first three minutes, Woodland Hills responded with 14 unanswered points. Quarterback Cody McClelland completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tom Greene and running back Miles Sanders scored on a 1-yard run. In the final minute of the half, wide receiver Gregg Garrity hauled in a Leftwich pass for a 32-yard touchdown, a play that turned out to be the winning score.

Although the neither team scored in the second half, the Tigers and Wolverines (10-3) combined for three trips inside the red zone in the final two quarters, with a North Allegheny victory never seeming more in doubt than early in the fourth quarter.

Facing a fourth down at the North Allegheny 6, McClelland rolled right and threw through the characteristic Heinz Field wind to an open Khalil Harper in the end zone, but the pass fell short, one- hopping into Harper's chest. …

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