Northgate tops Leechburg behind Walter's 260 rushing yards
Led by a stifling defense and a dominant ground game, No. 9 Northgate downed Leechburg, 20-0, in Class A Eastern Conference play Friday night at Veterans Memorial Field.
Defensively, Northgate (5-1, 5-0) held Leechburg To 134 total yards and recorded three interceptions. Northgate senior quarterback Cody Walter rushed for 260 yards and scored two touchdowns.
“Well, we knew that he is a very good running back,” Leechburg coach Mark George said. “We worked on our defensive line holding their gaps and worked on our linebackers filling better. The kid is really good. There were times when we had him stuffed and he made a move.”
Leechburg (1-5, 1-4) squandered multiple chances to score inside Northgate territory. Each opportunity ended with a turnover.
With Northgate leading 7-0 after a 22-yard touchdown catch by Walter, Leechburg junior quarterback Alex Sipolino found senior Tyler Dubovi for a 30-yard gain to the Northgate 32. The drive sputtered, however, as senior quarterback Jacob Iellimo was intercepted by Northgate junior defensive back Mark Lodge.
Leechburg went into halftime trailing 13-0. Things didn't get better as Northgate took its opening drive of the second half and marched 45 yards for a touchdown — a Walter 15-yard run.
“Cody is a tremendous player,” Northgate coach T.J. Wiley said. “The kid is electric. He's dynamic and every time he touches the ball he's a threat to go all the way.”
Leechburg then embarked on a 13-play drive to reach inside the Northgate 20. The drive ended in another interception, as freshman linebacker Jon Leonski picked off an Iellimo pass.
“Interceptions, fumbles and giveaways kill you,” George said. “That killed us on some of our drives. I thought we could've punched one or two in tonight.”
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.