North Allegheny routs Canon-McMillan to set up rematch with Central Catholic

Friday, November 10, 2023 | 9:58 PM

North Allegheny quarterback Logan Kushner won a foot race four plays into Friday night’s WPIAL Class 6A semifinal playoff game at Wright Field.

The 71-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 was a risk that paid off big time for the Tigers. North Allegheny gained the early lead and coasted to a 49-7 victory.

“We called a quarterback sneak because we wanted to get a yard,” Tigers coach Art Walker said. “I know everyone wanted to go for it. All the coaches were on board. Then Logan Kushner made a Logan Kushner play.”

Kushner, who finished with a team-high 125 rushing yards and also threw for 104 yards, didn’t anticipate having that much running room. But once he started moving forward, he noticed an opening.

“It was just to get the first down,” Kushner said. “I saw the hole and ran it all the way for a touchdown.”

The Tigers win sets up an eagerly anticipated rematch for the WPIAL title at 8 p.m. next Saturday at Norwin. North Allegheny (10-1) will take on top-seeded Central Catholic, which beat the Tigers, 50-22, during the regular season.

North Allegheny beat the Vikings in the championship game last season.

“They are a great football team,” Walker said. “They beat us last time, and it wasn’t close. We know that. We think we are a different football team than we were in Week 4 or whenever that was.”

Canon-McMillan’s offense struggled to get out of the gate. The Big Macs only gained 87 yards of total offense and lost two fumbles in the first half. Canon-McMillan scored its lone touchdown when quarterback Michael Evans connected with Zyan Howard on a 62-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter that cut the lead to 42-7.

“We had a good plan we couldn’t implement,” Canon-McMillan coach Mike Evans said. “I don’t think we started the drive all game from outside the 20-yard line. … We are not playing well enough in big games. That’s the way it ends.”

Canon-McMillan (6-5) saw its issues compound quickly Friday night. After Kushner’s first-drive touchdown, the Big Macs were forced to punt on their first drive. North Allegheny’s Khiryn Boyd returned the punt 58 yards for a touchdown.

“I think it motivates us to get the team rolling,” Kushner said. “It set us up for the rest of the game in a good way.”

North Allegheny continued the onslaught in the second quarter. Kushner scored on a 15-yard run and hit Daniel Sellers for an 8-yard score. Sellers scored again on a 1-yard run before halftime. North Allegheny led 32-0 at the break.

Kushner hopes the Tigers can recapture some of their all-around strong play from tonight against Central Catholic.

“It’s exciting. We get another game,” Kushner said. “We want to take it one game at a time and hopefully get another WPIAL championship.”

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