Trib HSSN high school football player of the week for 2023 Week 11

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Monday, November 13, 2023 | 7:04 PM


North Allegheny coach Art Walker calls his senior quarterback Logan Kushner a great young man who has outstanding composure, toughness and focus.

Kushner has been the Tigers’ leading passer the last three seasons and this year is the team’s leading rusher as well.

He is also a tremendous student with a 4.26 GPA and he scored 1430 on his SATs.

“Staying focused in school and using my time wisely,” Kushner explained on his on- and off-field successes. “Knowing how to time manage in spending my time on school and football and just keeping my priorities straight.”

Priority No. 1 for him and his NA teammates on Saturday will be repeating as WPIAL Class 6A champions when they face regular season champion Central Catholic in the district championship game at Norwin at 6 p.m.

North Allegheny punched its ticket to the title game with a 49-7 semifinal victory over Canon-McMillan on Friday.

The Tigers are now 11-0 all-time against the Big Macs.

“That was a fun game,” Kushner said. “We don’t pay attention to (the streak vs. Canon-Mac). It’s just we go game by game. Getting an early start helps us get momentum, which sets us up for the rest of the game.”

The early start was a 71-yard touchdown run by Kushner that got the ball rolling on 31 unanswered first-half points for North Allegheny.

“That was huge,” Walker said. “He took a fourth-and-1 and turned a quarterback sneak into a game-breaking play.”

Kushner ran for 125 yards and scored two touchdowns.

“It’s a good mixture of designed runs and reads,” Kushner said. “We have to read the keys and hand it off or pull it and some of them are scampers on pass plays as well.”

The NA running back foursome of Tyree Alualu, Conner Frank, Liam Flaherty and Nate Orlando has combined to rush for 1,823 yards. Alualu is second on the team with 761 yards on the ground.

For the season, Kushner has carried the ball 88 times for 880 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“Our offensive line has been playing great all year,” Kushner said. “They’re the reason our offense is doing so well in opening up gaps for me and all the running backs. They’ve been playing insane the entire year.”

Through the air, the senior QB was 5 of 12 passing for 104 yards and a touchdown. He has thrown for 1,308 yards this season with 18 scoring passes.

“I think I could have done better,” Kushner said. “Some of my passes weren’t as accurate as I’d like them to be. It’s a learning experience, and I can get better from the throws I missed.”

Now the much-anticipated showdown takes place between the black and gold against the blue and gold for district gold.

“We don’t want the same thing to happen as last time we played Central Catholic,” Kushner said. “We need to execute and not turn the ball over. That was one of the main reasons we lost: We had too many turnovers, so we need to keep the ball in our hands. They have athletes all over the field, but we had two fumbles and two interceptions and we have to hold that to a minimum this time.”

Week 11 honorable mention

Tiqwai Hayes – Aliquippa

It looked like it was business as usual for Aliquippa when it scored 18 points in the opening quarter and led visiting Latrobe in a WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals playoff game at halftime, 25-7. However, a one-sided win it was not as the Quips had to hold off a big fourth-quarter comeback to eliminate the Wildcats, 37-29. It was another day at the office for junior running back Tiqwai Hayes, who rushed for 242 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard fourth quarter back-breaking jaunt.

Braden Laux – Belle Vernon

Defending WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A champion Belle Vernon made its 2023 postseason debut at home and it was no day at the beach for visiting Deer Lakes. A week after picking up the first playoff win in school history, postseason victory No. 2 will have to wait for the Lancers thanks to Leopards quarterback Braden Laux. The Belle Vernon senior QB connected on 14 of his 18 passes for 236 yards and touchdown passes of 13 and 30 yards to Quinton Martin and 21 yards to Anthony Crew in a 49-6 win over Deer Lakes.

Donald Barksdale, Steel Valley

Steel Valley ran 52 offensive plays on Friday, 41 of which were junior running back Donald Barksdale running the ball. It worked for the defending WPIAL Class 2A champion Ironmen as they opened up the 2013 postseason with a hard-fought home win over Western Beaver. Barksdale ran for 250 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on runs of 2 and 43 yards as the Allegheny Conference champs survived and advanced to the final four with a 21-18 victory over the Golden Beavers.

2023 players of the week

Week 10 – Braylon Thomas, Union

Week 9 – Anthony Boyd, McKeesport

Week 8 – Armand Hill, West Mifflin

Week 7 – Donald Barksdale, Steel Valley

Week 6 – Ethan Varesko, Beth-Center

Week 5 – Jay Wrona, Mohawk

Week 4 – Elijah Faulkner, Central Catholic

Week 3 – Jonah Williamson, Trinity

Week 2 – Jake Wolfe, Montour

Week 1 – Bruce Giles, Connellsville

Week Zero – Cameron Epps, South Allegheny

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