North Allegheny trio, 4 from Central Catholic picked to Class 6A all-state team; Art Walker named coach of year

Friday, December 29, 2023 | 2:00 PM

Coach Art Walker and a group of decorated upperclassmen led North Allegheny to a second straight WPIAL Class 6A championship and a PIAA runner-up finish this fall.

The veteran coach of three of those Tigers were honored for their accomplishments Friday by the Pa. Football Writers.

Walker, the Trib HSSN Class 6A coach of the year, was named the state’s coach of the year for the highest classification, and seniors Logan Kushner and Tyree Alualu and junior Jack Yatchenko were picked to the all-state team.

Walker improved to 183-47 as North Allegheny’s coach and has claimed five WPIAL and two PIAA titles with the Tigers. He has a career record of 244-70 with seven district championships and three PIAA titles, including his time at Central Catholic.

Kushner (6-1, 200), the Trib HSSN Class 6A player of the year, amassed 3,352 yards of offense and 48 touchdowns. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 1,877 yards and led the team in rushing with 1,475 yards. Kushner has college offers from Davidson, Dayton, Robert Morris and Valparaiso.

Alualu (6-0, 220), a linebacker and three-time all-conference selection, had 63 tackles, including eight for a loss. On offense, he ran for nearly 900 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He has college offers from Cincinnati and Oregon.

Yatchenko (6-3, 285), an offensive lineman and two-time all-conference selection, helped the Tigers run for more than 4,000 yards. On defense, he had 42 tackles, including 11 for a loss.

In addition to the North Allegheny honorees, Central Catholic had four players selected to the Class 6A all-state team.

Senior quarterback Payton Wehner (6-0, 180), a St. Francis (Pa.) commit, threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns. He finished his career with 6,956 yards, good for 13th in WPIAL history.

Senior wide receiver Peter Gonzalez (6-3, 200), a Penn State recruit, caught 47 passes for 1,081 yards and had 12 touchdowns for the WPIAL finalist Vikings.

Senior linebackers Anthony Speca and Cole Sullivan also were honored. Speca (6-3, 215), a Penn State recruit, was a four-year starter who became Central Catholic’s all-time leading tackler with more than 300. He had 90 tackles this season, including 17 for a loss and five sacks.

Sullivan (6-4, 205), a Michigan recruit, had 76 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. On offense, he had 29 catches and eight touchdowns.

Samaj Jones, a Cincinnati recruit who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and quarterbacked St. Joseph’s Prep to a PIAA title, was named the Class 6A player of the year.

The all-state team was chosen by a statewide vote of sportswriters. The Class A, 2A and 3A teams were released Thursday. Class 4A, 5A and 6A were revealed Friday.

2023 Pa. Football Writers’ Class 6A all-state team

Player of the Year: Samaj Jones, St. Joseph’s Prep

Coach of the Year: Art Walker, North Allegheny



Matt Zollers, Spring-Ford – 6-4, 205 junior

Hayden Johnson, Manheim Township – 6-0, 180 senior

Logan Kushner, North Allegheny – 6-1, 200 senior

Samaj Jones, St. Joseph’s Prep – 6-2, 210 senior

Payton Wehner, Central Catholic – 6-0, 180 senior

Running back

Anthony Leonardi, Central Bucks South – 5-11, 180 senior

Juelz Goff, Central York – 5-10, 195 senior

Jared Porter, Central Dauphin East – 5-9, 170 junior

Trey Tremba, Parkland – 5-11, 200 senior

Wide receiver

Mason Kuehner, Nazareth – 5-11, 170 senior

Pete Gonzalez, Central Catholic – 6-3, 200 senior

David Washington Jr., St. Joseph’s Prep – 6-0, 185 senior

Landon Kennel, Manheim Township – 6-3, 200 senior

Mason Scott, Spring-Ford – 6-1, 170 senior

Tight end

Jack Donnelly, Central Bucks East – 6-2, 235 senior

Offensive line

Cooper Cousins, McDowell – 6-6, 310 senior

Michael Carroll, Central Bucks East – 6-6, 298 junior

Kevin Brown, Harrisburg – 6-5, 250 sophomore

Michael McMonigle, York High – 6-6, 290 senior

Adham Abouraya, Downingtown East – 6-5, 280 senior

Jack Yatchenko, North Allegheny – 6-3, 285 junior


Jaheim Bennett, George Washington – 6-0, 175 junior

Michael Scott, Dallastown – 5-9, 160 junior

Tommy Hunsicker, Wilson-West Lawn – 6-2, 185 senior


Defensive line

Maxwell Roy, St. Joseph’s Prep – 6-4, 285 junior

Ryan Epps, Harrisburg – 6-1, 235 senior

Sean Kinney, Nazareth – 6-3, 290 senior

Sean McNulty, St. Joseph’s Prep – 6-0, 245 senior

Malachi Ramnath, Central York – 6-3, 220 junior

Eli Rodriguez, Manheim Township – 6-0, 220 senior


Anthony Speca, Central Catholic – 6-3, 215 senior

Anthony Sacca, St. Joseph’s Prep – 6-4, 220 junior

Cole Sullivan, Central Catholic – 6-3, 205 senior

Michael Gaul, State College – 6-1, 205 junior

Alex Sauve, Cumberland Valley – 6-0, 205 senior

Defensive back

Saxton Suchanic, Central York – 6-3, 180 junior

Ziyyon Bradell, Abraham Lincoln – 6-0, 180 junior

Omillio Agard, St. Joseph’s Prep – 5-11, 165 senior

Quincy Brannon, Harrisburg – 5-11, 175 junior


Matthew Parker, Central York – 6-2, 200 junior


Shawn Lee Jr., Harrisburg – 5-11, 180 junior

Tyree Alualu, North Allegheny – 5-11, 220 senior

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at

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