Northern Seven Conference
North Allegheny won three WPIAL and two PIAA championships from 2010 to 2012 and it seemed like Art Walker’s program was at a different level than everyone else.
But graduation losses over those three seasons finally mounted up and the Tigers have come back to earth a bit in the last three seasons as they haven’t appeared at Heinz Field since they beat Woodland Hills in the 2012 WPIAL championship game.
That, however, doesn’t mean they haven’t been a force to be reckoned with as they have gone 24-9 in the last three seasons and have advanced to the WPIAL quarterfinals three times.
Along the way, they made sure to remind everyone else that they are still tough as nails and have a great deal with pride with wins like last season’s stunning 24-17 upset of a star-studded Central Catholic team that went on to win the WPIAL and PIAA titles.
This year will be much the same as the last three as the Tigers don’t have the overall star power and big name recruits of both Pine-Richland and Central but they certainly aren’t going to concede the Northern Seven to either of them.
And while they may not have big names, like most of Art Walker’s teams, they have big players along both lines and they will attempt to physically impose their will on opponents.
The biggest of them is 6-foot-7, 290-pound junior tackle Josh Lugg, who is ranked among the top 25 offensive linemen in the country and has already verbally committed to Notre Dame.
North Allegheny also has one of the better tight ends in the WPIAL in 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end Griffin Sestilli, who doubles as linebacker on what should be a very stout defense.
The Tigers don’t have a great passing game but they do have a versatile and crafty quarterback in Ethan Maenza who is good runner and can make throws under pressure.
North Allegheny did graduate a lot of players in its secondary and at receiver but the Tigers bread is always buttered first inside the tackles and that’s where they will again hold a significant edge.
The Tigers will likely need to beat either Pine-Richland, who they have lost two in a row to, or Central Catholic – who seems to be the consensus no. 1 team – to get back to Heinz Field for the first time since 2012 but they are clearly capable of getting it done.
Fri. 9/2 vs Bethel Park 7:30p
Fri. 9/9 @ Central Catholic 7:30p
Fri. 9/16 vs Shaler Area 7:30p
Fri. 9/23 vs Butler 7:30p
Fri. 9/30 vs Mt. Lebanon 7:30p
Fri. 10/7 @ Penn Hills 7p
Fri. 10/14 vs Seneca Valley 7:30p
Fri. 10/21 @ Hempfield 7p