N.A. familiar with former foe McDowell
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
PIAA AAAA Quarterfinals
North Allegheny (13-0) vs. Mcdowell (7-5), 7 p.m. Friday at NexTier Stadium, Harmony
McDowell played a schedule that featured losses to four opponents from traditional Ohio powerhouses, but the Trojans are familiar with their foe in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals. After playing North Allegheny twice the past two seasons as members of the Quad North, McDowell knows what to expect from the three-time defending WPIAL Quad-A champion Tigers.
“Look at the WPIAL North, the conference they're in now and we were in last year: It was a war,” McDowell coach Mark Soboleski said. “Yeah, we played the Ohio teams, but the schedule is not any better because we played it the last two years. They're about as good as it gets.”
And vice versa for North Allegheny coach Art Walker, who has a healthy respect for McDowell after it opened with Mentor (Ohio) and played Cleveland's St. Ignatius and St. Edward, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney and Erie Cathedral Prep before winning the District 10 title.
“We know that they played good teams and they're not afraid of who they're playing because they played a good schedule,” Walker said. “We are familiar with some of their players because they were in our section the last couple years. We're not completely in the dark with who our opponent is.”
The Tigers must stop McDowell's running game in the triple-option flexbone offense, which features 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior James Conner, who is averaging 11.3 yards per carry. A Pitt recruit, Conner has played so well that the Panthers, who originally liked him as a defensive end, want him to play offense. Conner rushed for 198 of his 213 yards in first half of the 42-0 victory over State College in the PIAA first round, and had 129 yards on eight carries against Perry the week before.
“He's a bigger back, a physical back, and has nice speed for his size, that's for sure,” Walker said. “He's a downhill runner. He can take punishment, so we expect them to give it to him a lot and try to control the clock with the run game.”
KEYS TO VICTORY — NA: Getting an early lead through the passing game would take the Trojans out of their element and force them to throw the ball with sophomore Jake Tarasovitch. M: Establishing a ground game behind Conner could cause the Tigers problems, and allow McDowell to eat the clock by keeping the ball out of North Allegheny's hands.
PREDICTION — North Allegheny, 35-21
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.
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic dominates Clarion in PIAA semifinals
- Central Catholic delivers crushing defensive performance to qualify for PIAA championship
- Running game carries South Fayette past Hickory and into PIAA title game