Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Allegheny Football Tigers Proving They Just Might Have Best 'Pickup Line' Around

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

North Allegheny Football Tigers Proving They Just Might Have Best 'Pickup Line' Around

Article excerpt

In their final drive against Gateway Friday, North Allegheny perfectly summed up why it hasn't lost a game since Oct. 29 of last year.

Trailing, 17-14, with 9:27 left and facing just their second fourth-quarter deficit of the season, the Tigers didn't panic and unleashed a 19-play, 63-yard drive, capped by a go-ahead touchdown with 41 seconds left to play.

The key to the drive was the Tigers' offensive line, which beat the Gators defense into submission, just as they have to opposing teams all season. The unit of right tackle Patrick Kugler, right guard Zach Harvey, center Pete Thistle, left guard Alex Jewell and left tackle Lani Kauvaka has bulldozed opponents all season, continuing a tradition of strong offensive line play from the Tigers.

"The kids get credit first, but the next that gets the credit should be Mike Booker," Tigers coach Art Walker said. "There's not a better offensive line coach around and Mike just does an unbelievable job with them and gets them ready."

North Allegheny ran the ball 18 times on the drive for 45 yards. That 2.5 yards-per-carry average may not look impressive, but the Tigers got the yards when they needed them, converting on three third down runs and, on the final play of the series, 4th-and-goal from inside the 1.

"We were going to slug it out," Walker said. We've got four plays to get 10 yards."

When the Tigers needed 1 yard to save their season, was their any question where they would go?

"We went behind two very experienced linemen and gave it to a veteran fullback [Nick Passodelis]," Walker said. "I didn't think he was going to be denied and the guys up front didn't want him to be."

On the season, the Tigers have rushed for a total of 3,287 yards, good for an average of 273.9 yards per game. They've also paved the way for an astounding 51 rushing touchdowns this year, an average of more than one per quarter of football.

"That's what we go to every weekend," running back Alex DeCiantis said. "We just knew that we had to pound it and we'd get them eventually. …

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