PIAA Class A semifinal preview: Union vs. Port Allegany

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Thursday, December 1, 2022 | 5:31 PM


PIAA Class A semifinals

Union (12-3) vs. Port Allegany (12-1)

7 p.m. Friday at Clarion University

On the air: TribHSSN.triblive.com

How they got here: WPIAL champion Union defeated Bishop Canevin, 26-0, in the District 7 final. District 9 champion Port Allegany beat District 10 champion Reynolds, 42-8, in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Winner plays: Winner of District 3 champion Steelton-Highspire and District 4 champion Canton in the PIAA championship game at 1 p.m. Dec. 8, at Cumberland Valley.

Coaches: Kim Niedbala, Union; Justin Bienkowski, Port Allegany

Players to watch: Braylon Thomas, jr., QB, Union; Drew Evens, sr., QB/S, Port Allegany

Factoids: Union captured its second WPIAL title last week by shocking top-seeded Bishop Canevin. It was the team’s first title in 63 years. Now, the Scotties will try for their first state championship. Thomas led the Scotties’ offense in the WPIAL final, rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns and also throwing for 80 yards. Union also got two scores on defense as Matt Stanley returned a fumble 32 yards and Mike Gunn had a 59-yard interception return. Kim Niedbala is a first-year head coach after stints as an assistant at Mt. Lebanon, West Allegheny, Edinboro University and Clarion University. Union averages 28.1 points on offense and allows 15.7. … Port Allegany is looking for its first PIAA title and the first state title for a team from District 9. The Gators are led by QB Drew Evens, who has thrown for more than 1,300 yards and run for 500-plus, accounting for 17 touchdowns. They also have a talented running back tandem in seniors Noah Archer and Blaine Moses, who have combined for early 2,000 rushing yards and more than 30 touchdowns. Moses ran for 11 yards and two TDs, and Archer had 103 yards in the quarterfinals. Evens threw for 172 yards and two scores as Port Allegany amassed 454 yards on offense.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at bhartlep@triblive.com or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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