No. 1 North Allegheny grounds down No. 7 Central Catholic
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Seven times in a row North Allegheny gave the ball to halfback Alex DiCiantis, showing an approach that was predictable, yet powerful.
“I love getting the ball and being able to put the team on my shoulders,” said DiCiantis, who rushed 29 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns in Friday night's 28-0 Quad North victory over No. 6 Central Catholic at Newman Stadium.
DiCiantis scored on runs of 4, 1 and 4 yards. That was plenty for a defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown since the second quarter of Week 2, a streak that has reached 22 quarters.
The No. 1 Tigers led, 7-0, at halftime on a touchdown pass from Mack Leftwich to Elijah Zeise, but they ran away with power in the second half. DiCiantis scored all three TDs after halftime for an offense that began the third quarter with seven consecutive runs by DiCiantis.
“Our team gets stronger as the game progresses,” he said.
It was a key victory for North Allegheny (7-0, 5-0), one week after a much-hyped nonconference road victory over then-No. 2 Gateway. The Tigers have won 21 consecutive conference games at home, dating to 2005.
A 38-yard catch by Zeise gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 6:59 left in the first quarter. It was the fourth touchdown catch this season for Zeise.
“We want to be able to throw it deep, play-action and run hard,” NA coach Art Walker said, “and make people defend all three of those phases.”
Leftwich completed 8 of 15 passes for 142 yards, and also threw a second-quarter interception. So, after halftime, North Allegheny leaned heavily on its ground game.
DiCiantis had 103 yards in the second half on 19 carries. His 4-yard touchdown with 8:23 left in the third gave North Allegheny a 14-0 lead. His 1-yard touchdown with 9:08 left in the fourth, and his 4-yarder with 3:34 left sealed the victory.
“We just buckled down and pounded it,” said Jeremy Gonzales, who centers a talented NA offensive line. “We have the technique, we have the size, we have everything.”
North Allegheny had 405 yards on 45 offensive plays, including 45 rushes for 263 yards. Leftwich rushed for 75 yards on nine carries.
Central Catholic (5-2, 4-2) had just 133 offensive yards on 39 plays. Luigi Lista-Brinza had 108 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Mistakes hurt the Vikings.
A holding penalty and a false start two snaps later thwarted Central Catholic's best scoring chance, a first-quarter drive that had reached NA's 19-yard line. Facing fourth-and-17, Mitchell MacZura had a 44-yard kick fall short. A third-quarter miscue ended another promising drive.
Facing fourth-and-4 at NA's 29, a shotgun snap slipped past quarterback Joseph Consentino, who chased it down and threw a hurried lateral that bounced out of bounds for a 10-yard loss with 3:35 left in the third. That was the last time Central crossed midfield.
“We played with them for a half, but it just got away from us in the second,” Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said. “They're very good. You can't make mistakes and we did.”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.