Two of the WPIAL heavyweights battled and it took overtime to produce a 28-21 North Allegheny victory.
One of the Tigers’ offensive catalysts this season has been junior quarterback Mack Leftwich. He was the backup quarterback on Tulsa Union High’s Class 6A state champion in Oklahoma last season before moving to Wexford when his father, Spencer, took an assistant coaching role at Pitt.
Leftwich brought a passing dimension North Allegheny didn’t fully enjoy when it won its WPIAL and PIAA crowns last season. But this night, he also added a running dimension, racking up 117 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
He scored the Tiger’s first touchdown at the 10:55 mark of the second quarter on a 66-yard run and then what proved to be the winning score in overtime on a 1-yard keeper. He also threw for 148 yards.
Paving the way for North Allegheny is Pat Kugler, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound two way lineman and the son of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler. His brother, Rob, is a freshman tight end at Purdue.
A timeworn cliché of football is that the most popular player on the team is the backup quarterback. This does not hold true at Upper St. Clair. Pitt recruit, quarterback, Dakota Conwell was injured and unable to play and that was the difference between taking home Gold or Silver.
Tiger’s coach Art Walker is a four-time WPIAL champion as a head coach, winning titles in consecutive years at Pittsburgh Central Catholic in 2003 and 2004. Walker also won a WPIAL crown as the offensive coordinator at West Allegheny High School in 1997.
North Allegheny is reaping the benefits of the sons of the Steelers and University of Pittsburgh coaches. The Tigers could be a dynasty if the staff from the Penguins and the Pirates can take up residence also.