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Football: North Allegheny back on the prowl

Written by John D'Abruzzo on .

The North Allegheny football team certainly turned a few heads last week with a 55-7 non-conference win over Mt. Lebanon.

The three-time WPIAL Class AAAA defending champion Tigers entered the season ranked No. 5 in the WPIAL by the Post-Gazette. Coach Art Walker's team, though, which graduated all but three returning starters from last season, were branded with a preseason No. 23 rank in the USA Today national rankings and moved up to No. 19 before playing Mt. Lebanon.

"That ranking is based on a lack of research," Walker told the Post-Gazette before the season. "Those guys with those rankings look at stuff from last year and the last few years. Somebody told me we were No. 23, and I was like, 'Are you kidding me?'

"When you have to replace 18 or 19 guys, I don't care who you are replacing them with, you shouldn't be ranked that high."

Against Mt. Lebanon, running back Josh Bergman rushed for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Tigers earned their 17th straight win and 30th consecutive victory against a WPIAL opponent. Quarterback Jeff Clemens made his first start and completed 8 of 10 passes for 184 yards and one touchdown. Pitt recruit Elijah Zeise caught four passes from Clemens and collected 129 receiving yards.

North Allegheny, which is ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA this week, hosts Fox Chapel at 7:30 p.m. Friday.