North Hills finding different ways to win

Thursday, September 12, 2019 | 5:06 PM

The North Hills football team is off to a hot start with a 3-0 overall record and a 2-0 mark in WPIAL Class 5A Northern Conference play.

The Indians have secured their victories in a variety of ways, by pulling away from Butler late in their nonsection game for a 46-21 win, by edging out Fox Chapel in a close 35-28 game and by overpowering Kiski Area for a 34-7 victory.

However, in all of these contests, two traits have remained consistent for North Hills.

The first trait is an unsurprising one for an Indians team, and that’s the strong rushing attack that has propelled the team’s offense.

Behind a diversified ground game that features Tommy McDonough, Curtis Foskey, Tyler Tomasic and quarterback Dylan Pawling, the Indians have scored five touchdowns in each of their first three contests.

“I think some of the credit for that goes to the guys that are guys that are playing up front and clearing the path, but it also goes to the scheme and the players that are running it for us,” coach Pat Carey said. “Most times, between our runners and our quarterback, they each get about eight to nine carries a game across the board. Tommy does a good job of stretching the defense for us while Tomasic, Foskey and Pawling are running the ball well inside. So everything has gone together pretty well so far.”

Foskey tallied 108 yards on 11 carries against Butler and has two rushing TDs this season. Pawling leads the team in rushing scores with six and has flashed the ability to air it out, passing for 102 yards against Fox Chapel.

Meanwhile, McDonough has been nothing short of a home run hitter.

He returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score against Butler, he caught a 38-yard touchdown pass against Fox Chapel, and he tallied 213 yards on eight carries and scored three times on runs of 30, 67 and 91 yards against Kiski Area.

Through three weeks, the senior track star is averaging 16.7 yards per carry.

“The thing with him is that he can go the distance any time he touches the ball,” Carey said. “He’s an explosive player — but beyond his speed, it’s his ability to cut and make guys miss. After that, once he gets into the open field, it’s tough to catch him. He’s one of the fastest guys in the state.”

The other consistent trait for North Hills has been its ability to finish games. In their win against Butler, the Indians put up 20 points in the fourth quarter. Against Fox Chapel, Carey’s team notched two fourth-quarter touchdowns to finish off the Foxes. Carey said it’s a trend that will have to continue if his team is to remain successful.

“It’s something that we preached this summer — finishing games,” he said. “According to the stats, it seems like the kids have really responded.

“Nobody is against a fast start, but in football, you want to be strong at the end of the game. We have some stiff competition coming up in the next few weeks, so hopefully we can continue to perform well in the fourth.”


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