After 1st playoff appearance in 8 years, Northgate hoping to continue growth
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Coach T.J. Wiley started his tenure at Northgate High School with a splash last year.
Despite being appointed as coach less than two months before the official practice season got under way, the Flames went 5-5 and made the WPIAL playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
“I stayed back from vacation so I could be interviewed on a Friday in June,” Wiley said. “I left to catch up with the rest of the family in North Carolina and was notified two hours later that I got the job.”
Wiley really didn't get started until the last week of June but quickly made up for lost time.
The new coach was faced with turning around a program that had endured seven straight losing seasons.
“We knew when we came in the team hadn't experienced much success,” Wiley said. “The kids and I pretty much had to trust each other. We wanted to give the community a winner — and they jumped on the bandwagon.”
Spearheading the Northgate revival was the combination of quarterback John Girvin, the WPIAL's No. 6 passer, and the WPIAL's No. 3 receiver, Jake Abernethy. Both graduated.
In the running to replace Girvin is Cody Walter, a running back who gained 352 yards rushing last season, and sophomore Johnny Camello, who relieved Girvin in the season's opener and led the Flames to a victory over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
Mark Lodge and Shakil Knight have emerged as the primary receivers to take over for Abernethy, and freshman George Floyd is pushing for playing time.
“We have eight starters back,” Wiley said. “Seniors don't start automatically.”
There is no doubt who will be the Northgate leader on defense. Linebacker Mackenzie Quinn had 127 tackles in 10 games and was named all-state honorable mention by Pennsylvania Football News.
Also returning for the Flames will be two-way linemen Tim Driscoll, Khalil Condon and Josh Anthony in addition to two-way player Justin Parra.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gorman: McKeesport’s Hudson has name brand
- Highlands WR serves as speedy complement to his RB brother
- HSFB preview by position: WPIAL is stacked at last line of defense
- Perry looking to return success to Keystone Oaks football
- Chartiers Valley has playoffs on mind despite youthful roster
- Gateway football preparing for a season of change
- Different foes dot gridiron slate for Southmoreland football team
- Plum football ready to defy skeptics, start winning tradition
- Senior TE/DE hoping for a pain-free senior season with Thomas Jefferson
- Penn-Trafford football has championship expectations
- HSFB preview by position: Central Valley’s Whitehead among nation’s best defensive backs