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WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal matchup: North Allegheny vs. Seneca Valley

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - North Allegheny's Alex DeCiantis runs through the Central Catholic defense during the third quarter Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in McCandless.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>North Allegheny's Alex DeCiantis runs through the Central Catholic defense during the third quarter Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in McCandless.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown passes against Pine-Richland.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown passes against Pine-Richland.

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North Allegheny

RB, Sr.


200 pounds

The Tigers' starting halfback, DiCiantis leads the team with 900 yards on 150 carries and 12 touchdowns. DiCiantis has been slowed by an ankle injury the past couple of weeks yet scored a 3-yard touchdown a week ago and should be fully involved Friday night.

how they got here

NA: Beat No. 16 Altoona, 42-14, in the first round; beat No. 9 Bethel Park, 31-20, in the quarterfinals.

SV: Beat No. 13 Hempfield, 50-20, in the first round; beat No. 5 Mt. Lebanon, 31-7, in the quarterfinals.

statistical leaders

NA: Passing: Mack Leftwich, 99-159-2,051, 27 TDs; Rushing: Alex DiCiantis, 150-900, 12 TDs; Receiving: Gregg Garrity, 41-864, 12 TDs.

SV: Passing: Jordan Brown, 111-185-1,726, 20 TDs; Rushing: Forrest Barnes, 218-1,636, 26 TDs; Receiving: Jon Dorogy, 37-666, 7 TDs.

by the numbers

NA: All-time: 358-229-14

Playoff appearances: 26

Last title: 2011

SV: All-time: 212-259-11

Playoff appearances: 10

Last title: none

Top high school sports
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

Class AAAA semifinal: North Allegheny (11-0) vs. Seneca Valley (10-1), 7 p.m. Friday, Martorelli Stadium

In the minds of Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown, a potential rematch with North Allegheny was a question of when, not if.

“We definitely knew,” he said.

The Quad North rivals will meet again Friday, this time at North Hills' Martorelli Stadium with a trip to Heinz Field awaiting the winner. In Week 3, North Allegheny won easily, 45-3, but the Tigers won't prematurely predict another easy blowout.

“That was a long time ago,” North Allegheny coach Art Walker said. “Teams change.”

But this series has been rather one-sided for the past decade. NA has won 11 straight in this Route 19 series. The teams also met twice last season, including a 35-10 quarterfinal victory by the Tigers. Seneca Valley's last win in this series was 2002. Regardless, the Raiders are encouraged.

“It's always a fantastic game,” Brown said. “We're good friends with them, and it's a big rivalry.”

The odds were favorable that North Allegheny (11-0) would again reach at least the semifinals. The top-ranked Tigers are two-time defending Class AAAA champions and haven't lost a WPIAL playoff game since 2009.

No. 4 Seneca Valley (10-1) was the bigger question; this was the first time since 1997 that the Raiders reached the final four. Their most recent championship game appearance was 1989 in Class AAA.

Since their Sept. 14 loss to NA, the Raiders have averaged nearly 45 points per game. That includes 50 points in a playoff victory over No. 13 Hempfield and 32 a week later against No. 5 Mt. Lebanon. But against NA, Seneca Valley managed only a first-quarter field goal.

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