The Trojans blew coverage on a pivotal early touchdown and committed six procedure penalties, and North Allegheny rode tailback Alex Papson’s huge second half to a 21-10 victory before a crowd of 5,000 at Gus Anderson Field on Friday.
A meeting of unbeaten WPIAL Northern Seven Conference teams turned on a third-quarter sequence in which the Tigers (4-0 overall, 2-0 WPIAL Northern Seven) scored twice in a 21/2-minute span after McDowell (3-1, 1-1) had taken a 14-10 lead.
Papson, the WPIAL’s second-leading rusher coming in, carried nine times for 51 yards on a grinding, go-ahead drive that saw the 5-foot 8-inch, 180-pound senior crash in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-10.
Then, after a McDowell punt, Papson broke up the middle and ran 74 yards for a touchdown that stretched North Allegheny’s lead to 11. Papson, who gained 64 yards in the first half, finished with 275 yards on 29 carries.
“I’m not surprised one bit because we knew he was a great back,” McDowell coach Mark Soboleski said of Papson’s big night. “We contained him, contained him, contained him, and then he came in the second half with that drive and that big run and it just broke our backs.”
North Allegheny coach Art Walker said at that point he knew he had to ride Papson and the Tigers’ big offensive line.
“You’ve got to give him the ball,” Walker said. “He’s a veteran and you’ve got to have some patience and play field position. That drive that answered their touchdown was the drive of the game.”
Papson, who entered the game with 634 yards on 60 carries in North Allegheny’s first three games, tacked on his long touchdown for good measure.
“I’m on Cloud 9,” Papson said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Papson is settling himself up as 1 of the elite backs in the WPIAL. We wish there was some video of the long run, just to see if all of those Bishop players holding their lumbars.