Here’s a breakdown of Saturday’s WPIAL football championships, including comments on both teams and a prediction from an anonymous opposing coach.


North Allegheny (10-1) vs. Central Catholic (10-1), 6 p.m. Saturday at Norwin

Head coaches: Art Walker (North Allegheny); Ryan Lehmeier (Central Catholic).

Leading passers: Logan Kushner (North Allegheny) 72 of 132, 1,308 yards, 18 touchdowns; Payton Wehner (Central Catholic) 153 of 223, 2,660 yards, 33 touchdowns.

Leading rushers: Logan Kushner (North Allegheny) 88 carries, 880 yards, 14 touchdowns; Elijah Faulkner (Central Catholic) 179 carries, 1,350 yards, 23 touchdowns.

Leading receivers: Khiryn Boyd (North Allegheny) 22 catches, 532 yards, 11 touchdowns; Vernon Settles (Central Catholic) 47 catches, 722 yards, 8 touchdowns.

Noteworthy: Central Catholic won at North Allegheny, 50-22, on Sept. 22.

An opposing coach says …

Size up North Allegheny: They just play such a physical brand of football up front. I’ve been very impressed with their physicality in games. NA is an offense that is hard to prepare for. It’s another team with a lot of weapons. If you want to take away the run game with [Tyree] Alualu, the QB [Logan Kushner] can run it. And then Khiryn Boyd is extremely fast. You can take something away, but the other guys also do things extremely well, and that makes them hard to defend.

Size up Central Catholic: The thing with Central is, whenever you have 16 Division I kids or whatever the number is, it’s difficult to defend them. They’re well-coached and extremely talented. It’s pick your poison. If you’re worried about them throwing, then they have [Elijah] Faulkner running the ball. Whenever you take away one thing, they’ll combat it with something else. Their line is really good. I think they had 23 all-conference guys, which is a good indicator of the talent they have.

How do you see this game playing out? I think in that first meeting North Allegheny had like three turnovers inside Central territory. I think it’s going to be a lot closer this time.

Prediction: North Allegheny 24-21.


Pine-Richland (9-3) vs. Peters Township (12-0), noon Saturday at Norwin

Head coaches: Jon LeDonne (Pine-Richland); T.J. Plack (Peters Township).

Leading passers: Kanan Huffman (Pine-Richland) 39 of 87, 540 yards, 3 touchdowns; Nolan DiLucia (Peters Township) 170 of 268, 2,356 yards, 23 touchdowns.

Leading rushers: Ethan Pillar (Pine-Richland) 257 carries, 1,454 yards, 22 touchdowns; Vinny Sarcone (Peters Township) 131 carries, 554 yards, 20 touchdowns.

Leading receivers: Vasile Balouris (Pine-Richland) 26 catches, 255 yards, 2 touchdowns; Carter Shanafelt (Peters Township) 34 catches, 338 yards, 10 touchdowns.

An opposing coach says …

Size up Pine-Richland: I think they do a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They do have some other guys who play big roles, especially on the defensive side. They have three athletic linebackers in coach LeDonne’s system that can move and guys on the back end that do a great job of playing off them. They ask the corners to do a lot, and they do a pretty good job. On the offensive side, they do a very good job with the wildcat stuff. I think last week for the first time we saw what their normal package can still do. I think it puts stress on you in that you have to prepare for both in a short amount of time.

Size up Peters Township: I think Peters is unique because of their defensive structure. I think coach Plack and his staff do a great job of putting kids in position to make plays. They run a 3-3-5 defense. They’ve got two very good outside linebacker/defensive end types on the edges, one junior [Mickey Vaccarello] and one sophomore [Reston Lehman]. They do a great job with their front. They’re very athletic with a lot of speed on the back end between their linebackers and DBs. On the offensive side, I think they were maybe the most balanced team we played. They have four receivers that can beat you. Not one guy. Not two guys. But four receivers that they’re comfortable throwing the ball to. And the quarterback [Nolan DiLucia] is very dynamic.

How do you see this game playing out? I know it sounds cliche, but the team that wins the line of scrimmage will have the upper hand. I think this will be the first time [Pine-Richland] will play a front like Peters. It will be a challenge for them, and they have risen to the challenge numerous times, but I think Peters Township wins this.

Prediction: Peters Township 28-7.

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