Before the first snap, Seneca Valley's defense was penalized for having 12 players on the field.
You couldn't blame the Raiders. Getting some extra help might have been their only hope against Mack Leftwich.
Leftwich is North Allegheny's standout senior quarterback, and everything was right for Leftwich in WPIAL Class AAAA semifinal Friday night at North Hills' Martorelli Stadium. This should tell you all you need to know about what Leftwich did to Seneca Valley: He had 297 yards passing and 349 yards offense -- in the first half.
Leftwich had one of the best performances by a quarterback in WPIAL playoff history, racking up 439 yards offense as North Allegheny crushed Seneca Valley, 47-17.
Leftwich had a hand in all seven touchdowns -- five passing and two rushing as North Allegheny ran its winning streak against WPIAL teams to 28. The Tigers also moved one step closer to WPIAL history. North Allegheny is trying to become the first team to win three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA championships since the classification was formed in 1980.
For the game, Leftwich completed 18 of 23 passes for 360 yards and rushed 19 times for 79 yards.
After the game, North Allegheny coach Art Walker and Seneca Valley coach Don Holl had a heated exchange of words on the field. They were face to face for a few seconds. Holl was upset that North Allegheny (12-0) threw for a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play at the 5-yard line with 1:30 left in the game. North Allegheny was leading by 23 points at the time.
"Enjoy the sour grapes," Walker said to Holl as Holl walked away.
But nothing could sour Leftwich's performance. It was reminiscent of a great semifinal performance five years ago by Jeannette's Terrelle Pryor, who had 421 yards offense against Aliquippa (331 rushing and 90 passing).
"I don't know if I'm in his class," Leftwich said, with a laugh.
Leftwich already has made a verbal commitment to Stephen F. Austin, a Division II college in Texas. He also is sporting a moustache these days. He's had it for three weeks.
"Playoff moustache," he said.
He certainly put Seneca Valley in a hairy situation.
"But the other people make me look good," said a humble Leftwich. "We had some people make big plays. [Elijah] Zeise came up with a few big catches. [Gregg] Garrity came up with some key catches on third downs and the offensive line did a great job on those quarterback runs."
The first play gave an indication as to what kind of night it would be for Letwich and Seneca Valley. After Seneca Valley was penalized before the first snap, North Allegheny moved 5 yards forward. Then, Leftwich dropped back and calmly launched a deep pass into the hands of a streaking Zeise for a 64-yard touchdown. The game was 12 seconds old, and Seneca Valley seemed doomed -- again.
North Allegheny has been Seneca Valley's nemesis for years. North Allegheny had won 11 in a row against the Raiders and had outscored Seneca Valley, 412-125, in those games.
"We've been deferring all year [on the coin toss]," said Walker. "But we thought we wanted the ball first tonight and wanted to score first."
Seneca Valley showed some life after North Allegheny's first score. The Raiders moved inside the 10, but had to settle for Chad Izenas' 24-yard field goal.
After that, it was all Leftwich the rest of the half. He threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Skylar Cox, 27 yards to Garrity and 63 yards to Zeise. Leftwich scored his first touchdown on a 15-yard run with 2:06 left in the half. Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown scored on a 57-yard run to make it 33-10 at halftime.
In the second half, Seneca Valley (10-2) scored first on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Jon Dorogy, and the Raiders trailed, 33-17, after three quarters. But Leftwich scored on a 8-yard run with 8:51 left. For the game, North Allegheny outgained Seneca Valley, 514-295.
"Leftwich is a special kid," Walker said. "I've been saying all along he can play at any level in college. If you get hung on his size [5 feet 11, 190 pounds], you're missing a great quarterback. He's a Division I college quarterback."
Leftwich said: "We feel like we can throw on just about anybody at this point of the season. They were trying to pack the box tonight, so we took advantage of what they were giving us."
Chech out Mike White's Friday Night Live blog for further updates and info. First Published November 17, 2012 5:00 AM