North Allegheny takes care of business vs. Seneca Valley

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 10:46 PM

North Allegheny coach Art Walker didn’t want to call his No. 2 Tigers’ 40-7 victory over No. 5 Seneca Valley a statement game.

Regardless, his team made quite the statement.

The Tigers (6-0, 5-0) succeeded in rectifying their playoff loss at the hands of the Raiders last season by thoroughly defeating their opponent on their home turf at NexTier Stadium after jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and coasting from there.

While there were no rah-rah speeches about revenge leading up to the contest, according to Walker, he said the players might have had a little extra fire in the lead-up to their WPIAL Class 6A tilt with Seneca Valley (2-4, 2-3).

“In the kids, sure. But as coaches, it’s a new year. Last year, we won the first one and they won the one that really mattered. Every year is a new year, though, and every year is different,” Walker said. “We approached it as if it’s huge for us because this was a big conference game. We’re not thinking about anything else. We’re just taking it one game at a time. But I really liked our focus.”

Very few players displayed the focus and fire Friday night that North Allegheny quarterback Ben Petschke possessed. The senior completed 7 of 10 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 77 yards and another score on seven carries. Petschke entered the contest with just 62 rushing yards through his team’s first five games.

“We’re just taking what they’re giving us. He’s a senior quarterback, he manages the game well,” Walker said of Petschke. “When you need him to throw, he’ll throw. When you need him to run, he’ll run. We’re just proud of the way he’s stepped up for us as a senior quarterback.”

Wide receiver Luke Colella caught one of Petschke’s touchdown passes and finished with four grabs for 94 yards. Khalil Dinkins caught the other score and collected 47 total yards on two catches.

Running back Percise Colon ran the ball 10 times for 75 yards and a rushing score. Sophomore Dominic O’Barto also tallied a rushing score, along with 12 total yards on three carries.

Brandon Persad booted two field goals home for the Tigers, from 27 and 28 yards.

Seneca Valley struggled to get things going after falling behind early. The Raiders only earned three first downs on offense in the first half, whereas their opponent racked up 31 points and 273 total yards of offense through the first two quarters.

Still, this is familiar territory for Raiders coach Ron Butschle and his team. And while the outcome of this one wasn’t what they had hoped for, he said he remains confident they can learn and grow from the tough loss.

“We’ll evaluate things. We have four really meaningful games coming up, and we have the opportunity to get to the playoffs. That’s always the goal, and the opportunity is still out there,” Butschle said. “We’ve been in this position before. We just have to get some momentum going into the end of the year, and we’ll see what happens.”

Quarterback Gabe Lawson completed 9 of 16 passes for 82 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Seth Baic.

Brady Skalos caught two balls for 41 yards for the Raiders. Running back Ethan West finished with 38 yards on seven carries in addition to three catches for 29 yards.

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