Running with the football hasn’t been one of Logan Kushner’s strengths.

North Allegheny’s junior quarterback entered Saturday having carried the ball 76 times for 46 yards over the team’s first 11 games this season.

Dual threat? No, more like single threat.

But something got into Kushner in the team’s biggest game of the season, and North Allegheny used a stunner of a rushing performance from Kushner to win its first WPIAL title in a decade.

Kushner rushed for 184 yards and ran for the go-ahead touchdown midway through the third quarter, lifting North Allegheny to a 35-21 win against Central Catholic in the WPIAL Class 6A championship on a chilly night at Norwin High School.

The championship finally got top seed North Allegheny (11-1) over the proverbial hump. Since going undefeated and winning WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A titles in 2012, the Tigers had not climbed to the WPIAL summit despite being close on numerous occasions. Over the previous six seasons, they lost in the semifinals five times and in the championship to Central Catholic in 2020. Central Catholic (7-5), the No. 3 seed, was looking to win its third title in four years, but settled for second place for the second year in a row.

“It feels amazing,” Kushner said. “They doubted us all year. We weren’t high in the rankings in the preseason. They still doubted us going into this game, and we proved everyone wrong tonight.”

North Allegheny quarterback Logan Kushner (7) celebrates with his teammates after scoring in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game against Central Catholic Saturday at Norwin High School. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Kushner certainly proved everyone wrong who thought he couldn’t make plays with his legs.

“We haven’t run him a lot all year, but when you’re in the WPIAL championship, all bets are off,” North Allegheny coach Art Walker said. “He ran hard, he ran smart, and he was just determined to win this game tonight.”

Kushner completed 3 of 8 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his massive production on the ground that was the big story Saturday. Kushner carried the ball 15 times, the most significant coming on a 45-yard touchdown scamper that gave North Allegheny a 28-21 lead with 5:44 left in the third.

“It was a run to the left. I saw a hole, the offensive line blocked great, I hit the hole, and I just ran to the end zone,” said Kushner, who also had runs of 44 and 55 yards.

Added teammate Khiryn Boyd, “I have no idea where that came from. I’ve never seen that in Logan … ever.”

Not even in practice?

“That doesn’t happen in practice at all,” Boyd replied. “I’m glad it happened today.”

Boyd was one of several juniors to have huge games for North Allegheny. He hauled in both of Kushner’s scoring tosses — 51 yards in the first quarter and 68 in the second. Boyd, who has a team-high 12 touchdowns this season, also had a team-best three pass breakups on defense against Central Catholic.

Following Kushner’s touchdown run, Andrew Gavlik rushed for an 18-yard touchdown to extend North Allegheny’s lead to 35-21 with 11:52 left. But Central Catholic didn’t go quietly. The Vikings threatened to make it a one-score game, but on fourth-and-goal from North Allegheny’s 1-yard line, Central Catholic quarterback Payton Wehner was tackled short of the goal line by defensive end Daniel Sellers.

“It was amazing,” Sellers said. “We’ve been doing it all season, so it wasn’t anything new. It just happened to be the right time.”

Sellers, also a junior, was a force all night. His 15-yard scoop opened the scoring with 3:43 left in the first quarter, and he finished with six tackles, including two for losses and a sack.

Considering North Allegheny edged Central Catholic, 7-3, in a defensive battle back on Sept. 23, most pundits predicted another low-scoring game. But wouldn’t you know, it was the offenses that took center stage in an entertaining first half that resulted in the teams going into the locker room deadlocked, 21-21.

North Allegheny threw the first two blows. Less than three minutes after Sellers’ touchdown, Kushner found a streaking Boyd down the seam for 51 yards to extend the Tigers’ lead to 13-0.

“We thought we could man up on everybody across the board, but Boyd hurt us today,” said Central Catholic coach Terry Totten, who was trying to win his seventh title.

Central Catholic wasn’t about to settle for being down by two touchdowns, so it turned to Vernon Settles to get on the board and even take the lead. Settles scored on a 16-yard run with 8:56 remaining in the opening half and then on a 19-yard pass from Wehner that put the Vikings in front, 14-13, with 4:21 to go before halftime.

Central Catholic’s Vernon Settles scores a touchdown in the WPIAL Class 6A championship game against North Allegheny Saturday at Norwin High School.

But less than a minute later, the Kushner-Boyd combo came up big again, the two hooking up for a 68-yard scoring strike. Kushner’s 2-point run gave North Allegheny a 21-14 advantage, but Wehner scored on a 2-yard run with 24 seconds left to knot the score just before the half.

“I think both teams have developed a little bit offensively, changed some things up [since the first meeting],” Walker said. “We knew there were going to be some points being scored.”

Wehner had a strong game for Central Catholic. He completed 18 of 30 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown and carried 12 times for 75 yards and a score. Peter Gonzalez finished with seven receptions for 105 yards and Settles had six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.

“I would put it up there with one of the classics,” Totten said.

North Allegheny will soon shift its focus to the PIAA playoffs. The Tigers play District 6 champion State College (12-0) in next weekend’s quarterfinals. State College defeated McDowell, 57-50, in a triple-overtime thriller Friday.

But on Saturday night, the Tigers planned on doing some celebrating … 10 years’ worth.

“Ten years,” Walker said before pausing. “We’ve been in the game. We’ve been in the semis. For these guys to get a 6A [championship]. We’ve never had a 6A championship. These guys get to make history at North Allegheny. First 6A championship. Now they’ll be a team remembered. And we’ve talked about that, not only earlier in the year, but this week that was talked about every day. To be remembered.”

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at