HERSHEY, Pa. -- North Allegheny put the finishing touches on a perfect season when it won the PIAA Class AAAA championship tonight with a record-breaking 63-28 victory against Coatesville.
North Allegheny finished the season with a 16-0 record and won its second state championship in three years. It was the Tigers' third title overall (the other came in 1990).
North Allegheny held a 35-14 lead at the half. After Coatesville (13-3) scored first to start the second half, North Allegheny came on strong and pulled away, setting a championship game record for most points. The PIAA playoffs have been around since 1988. The Tigers also forced the mercy rule in the fourth quarter. Under the rule, the clock runs continuously when a team goes ahead by 35 points.
North Allegheny 63, Coatesville 28
North Allegheny defeats Coatesville 63-28 in the PIAA Class AAAA state championship game in Hershey. (Video by Andrew Rush; 12/15/2012)
North Allegheny quarterback Mack Leftwich had almost 300 yards offense, completing 16 of 20 for 199 yards and also rushing for 90 yards on 16 carries. Alex DeCiantis rushed for 115 yards.
North Allegheny also tied a championship game record for points in the first quarter when it scored 28 in taking a 28-7 lead. Two of the touchdowns were scored by the defense on fumble recovery returns.
North Allegheny scored on its first possession of the game when Skylar Cox caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Leftwich. Four plays after the ensuing kickoff, Coatesville receiver Dre Boggs caught a pass but fumbled trying to get extra yardage. North Allegheny defensive back Brendan Coniker picked up the fumble and raced 80 yards for a touchdown.
Then on Coatesville's next possession, quarterback Emmett Hunt fumbled trying to scramble away from a rush. Linebacker Kevin Edwards picked it up and rambled 52 yards for a touchdown to give North Allegheny a 21-0 lead before the game was even nine minutes old. Edwards also intercepted a pass later in the game.
Coatesville, a District 1 school near Philadelphia, got a long kickoff return to set up its first touchdown. Hunt scored on a 1-yard QB sneak.
But North Allegheny answered with another scoring drive, moving 47 yards in six plays. Leftwich capped it with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Coatesville made it 35-14 when Daquan Worley ran 89 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest TD run in a Class AAAA championship game.
Coatesville scored first in the second half to make it 35-21, but North Allegheny answered with an eight-play, 69-yard scoring drive that was capped by Leftwich's 17-yard touchdown pass to Gregg Garrity. That made it 42-21, and the rest was history.