North Hills football team looks to power its way to playoff run

Friday, August 16, 2019 | 11:06 AM

The North Hills football team’s formula for success is no secret. On offense, the Indians prefer to lean on strong line play to pave the way for a potent rushing attack. On defense, they stymie their opponent’s attempts to do the same.

This style of play has led coach Pat Carey and his team to WPIAL playoff appearances in five out of the last six seasons. And while North Hills regularly has punched its ticket to the postseason in recent years, the team has no hardware to show for it during Carey’s tenure. That should fuel the Indians’ fire as they take on the Class 5A Northern Conference.

“There’s a high standard at North Hills,” Carey said. “We expect to be in the playoffs. Now, what we talk about is getting into the playoffs and making a run at it. That’s where we are. We haven’t completed that mission yet.

“Getting into the playoffs is one thing, but we’d like to get in there with a healthy team and get after it and cause some damage. It’s an expectation to get there, but now we have to do a little more.”

Though the team graduated Tyler Brennan, who accounted for 18 touchdowns last season, North Hills still boasts plenty of experienced, talented runners.

Junior running back Tyler Tomasic returns after racking up 586 yards on the ground last season. Junior fullback Curtis Foskey returns as well to help spearhead the rushing efforts.

But when it comes to replacing the big-play abilities of Brennan, one player to keep an eye on is senior Tommy McDonough, who ran for 243 yards in an injury-shortened season last year. McDonough possesses rare speed, evidenced by his fifth-place finish in the 100-meter dash at the WPIAL track and field championships.

“He has a similar skill set to Tyler. His speed is his asset,” Carey said of McDonough.

“Tommy has played football his whole life, so he’s a football player that just picked up track and field. Unfortunately for him, he suffered some injuries last year that kept him sidelined, but he’s a very athletic kid. I could see a season for him that would be similar to what Tyler did for us last year.”

For now, senior Dylan Pawling, junior Max Sharp and a couple of other candidates are vying for the title of starting quarterback.

In the trenches, North Hills will be anchored by all-conference defensive end Damon Thompson on defense. On offense, tackle Ronnie Novosedliak will look to clear a path for his team’s rushing attack, and according to the 6-foot-8, 255-pound senior lineman and Central Michigan commit, he relishes the opportunity to do so.

“It’s fun playing in this type of offense. Everyone enjoys it. Running is a part of North Hills,” Novosedliak said. “So, pulling out and run blocking, going out and hitting the person across from you harder than they hit you, that’s what you have to do to be successful here.”

Novosedliak says he believes this year’s team has the potential to make that sought-after WPIAL playoff run. He cites North Hills’ improved communication and cohesion as the reason.


Coach: Pat Carey

2018 record: 6-5, 5-2

All-time record: 493-302-27

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, Butler, 7:30

8.30, Fox Chapel*, 7:30

9.6, at Kiski Area*, 7

9.13, Hampton*, 7:30

9.20, at Peters Township, 7

9.27, Gateway, 7:30

10.4, Mars*, 7:30

10.11, at Armstrong*, 7

10.18, Shaler*, 7:30

10.25, at Penn Hills*, 7

*Class 5A Northern Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Dylan Pawling

7-15, 62 yards, 1 TD

Receiving: Keygan Bryant*

10-130 yards, 2 TDs

Rushing: Tyler Brennan*

122-814 yards, 18 TDs



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