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Leechburg beats Northgate to snaps 13-game losing streak

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By Jeff Debaldo
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 12:24 a.m.

Leechburg entered the season with eight straight losses to end the 2012 season and continued that trend by dropping the first five games this year.

However, game No. 6 in 2013 turned out to be different as Leechburg defeated Northgate, 35-14, on Friday night for its first regular-season win since Aug. 31, 2012.

The win snapped a 13-game losing streak for the Blue Devils.

“It feels great,” Leechburg head coach Mark George said. “These kids feel really good and we executed on both sides of the ball.”

The Blue Devils (1-5, 1-4) jumped out to a 21-6 first-quarter lead on two rushing touchdowns from Alexander Kalmar, who scored from 2 yards out and then had a highlight-reel 25-yard score.

Northgate (1-5, 1-4) responded after Leechburg's first score with a touchdown of their own thanks to Johnny Camello's 6-yard run with 3:56 left in the first quarter.

Sophomore Rodney Burrows got the Flames back in the game with a 95-yard kickoff return with 3:54 left to go before halftime. Northgate converted the two-point conversion to make it 28-14.

“That return was big,” Northgate head coach Brandon LeDonne said. “We were struggling a little bit on both sides of the ball and it was big to get us back in the game.”

Leechburg was able to keep Northgate at bay before Kristopher Smith's 1-yard touchdown erased any hopes of a Flames comeback.

“As coaches we kept calm and said, ‘This game is yours, right here right now,' ” said George. “We talked to them calmly and said ‘If you do the little things right the big things take care of themselves.' ”

Kalmar led the Leechburg rushing attack with a game-high 93 yards on 15 carries and two scores. Teammate Alex Sipolino completed 7 of 11 passes for 85 yards and one touchdown.

Jeff DeBaldo is a freelance writer.

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