North Allegheny outscores Hempfield in 6A shootout

Friday, October 11, 2019 | 11:16 PM

Hempfield showed that North Allegheny’s defense can be vulnerable, but it couldn’t keep up with the Tigers playmakers.

The teams combined for 97 points on a night when nearly everyone found the end zone. No. 1 North Allegheny came away with a 62-35 victory.

“It was a crazy, crazy game at times,” North Allegheny coach Art Walker said. “You have to give (Hempfield) credit for battling the whole game.”

Luke Colella scored four touchdowns for North Allegheny, the first a 56-yard run, then a 28-yard pass from Ben Petschke and back on the ground for 44 yards in the first half. Petschke connected with Colella again in the third quarter for a 24-yard touchdown reception. Colella had eight touches for 167 all-purpose yards.

“Luke had a heck of a night doing everything, running the ball, catching the ball, and he’s also a secondary guy and a return guy,” Walker said. “We like to use him a lot of different ways, so I’m really happy for him.”

Percise Colon added a 79-yard kick return for a touchdown, and Brady Lezco’s 16-yard touchdown run was the Tigers’ shortest of five scoring plays in the first half. Petschke scrambled out of the pocket and scored on an 80-yard touchdown run, which was the game-winner on the Tigers’ first third-quarter drive.

“You have Luke, Percise, Sam Sheridan and Brayden Prekop, and fullbacks being unselfish and blocking and running it in from time to time,” Walker said. “You have Petschke and his long run, and he’s not really known for his feet. If you want to win games and make a playoff run, everyone has to contribute.”

Hempfield gave the typically stout North Allegheny defense, which didn’t allow more than 14 points in a game until Friday, trouble.

The Spartans were led by Nathan Roby, who had 223 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 56 and 51 yards and also found the end zone on a 9-yard pass from Blake Remaley.

“Roby has played like that since his sophomore year, and you can tell he’s great,” Hempfield coach Rich Bowen said. “He’s 5 feet, 7 inches and 145 pounds, and he just had a terrific night against a great football team. It’s nothing new to us.”

Remaley threw for 190 yards while battling a nagging injury.

“He’s been playing since (Week 4) with an injury, and I give him all the credit in the world,” Bowen said. “He had a great game, too. … I’m really blessed with a group of kids who never quit.”

Down 35-15, the Spartans reached the red zone less than a minute before halftime, but Colella broke up a fourth-down pass in the corner of the end zone.

Hempfield had another opportunity to start the third quarter but did not advance the ball after starting the drive at North Allegheny’s 37-yard line off of a 41-yard kick return by Roby and a personal foul penalty against the Tigers for a horse-collar tackle that stopped him from scoring.

“If we score and make it 35-22 at halftime and get that big return all the way, it’s suddenly a really close game,” Bowen said. “But you can’t give a great team like them an early 14-point lead.”

North Allegheny will play a nonsection game against West Allegheny before ending the regular season at Pine-Richland.

“We know West Allegheny will come here and give us a ball game,” Walker said. “Then we have a great rivalry game at the end of the season that will determine seedings, so we have to focus on getting better.”

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