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By Jonathan Spina

Senior Percise Colon took a punt back 60 yards with 2:55 to go in the game and a 2-point conversation gave North Allegheny an 11-10 victory over top-ranked Central Catholic in Friday night’s showdown at Shaler Middle School.

With the victory, Head Coach Art Walker picked up his 200th career coaching win. Walker coached at Central Catholic prior to coming over to North Allegheny.

After a pair of 3-and-outs by both teams to start the game, Central Catholic got on the board first on a 3rd and 11 halfback draw when Eddie Tillman scampered 56 yards for the game’s opening score, giving Central Catholic a 7-0 lead.

The Tiger offense struggled early but finally got something going when quarterback Ben Petschke found tight end Khalil Dinkins on a 12-yard reception giving North Allegheny a first down and shifting the momentum. North Allegheny then was able to drive down the field but couldn’t punch it into the end zone. They finished the drive with a Brandon Persad 28-yard field goal making the game 7-3. The score remained the same into halftime.

To start the third quarter, North Allegheny’s defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Amosis Porter, stopping the Vikings drive. Unfortunately, the Tiger offense could not get any points out of the drive and the score remained 7-3 after three quarters of play.

To start the fourth quarter, Central Catholic had an impressive 10-play, five minute drive. However, North Allegheny’s defense was able to bend but not break and stopped the Vikings in the red zone, forcing a field goal by Jonathan Opalko that brought the score to 10-3, Vikings.

After Tigers were forced to punt on their next possession, the NA defense came up huge and got a stop with three minutes to go in the game. Colon was able to take the punt back 60 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 10-9, Central Catholic.

After the Vikings jumped offsides, North Allegheny went for two and it was Peter Vardzel who was able to run it in and give the Tigers an 11-10 lead. On the following possession, Brayden Prekop sacked Central Catholic quarterback Dom Pieto and forced a fumble which was recovered by Sam Sheridan to clinch the game.

Dinkins and Nathan Hoke led all defenders with six tackles, including two for loss apiece.

North Allegheny improves to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in section play. Central Catholic falls to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in section play. The Tigers will be back in action next Friday against Canon McMillan at Newman Stadium.