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2023 PIAA Class 3A Championship Preview: Belle Vernon Area (12-1) @ Northwestern Lehigh (15-0)

Written by: on Tuesday, December 5th, 2023. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.


Chapman Field at Cumberland Valley will again be at the eye of the Pennsylvania high school football world this weekend when the state’s top 12 high school teams meet for PIAA state championships.

Belle Vernon reached its first state championship game last year and won it in the most dramatic game of last year’s championship week, 9-8, over District 12 champion Neumann-Goretti. The Leopards will defend the Class 3A title riding Penn State-bound tailback Quinton Martin and an explosive offense that trampled District 12 champion Hickory, 42-16, in the state semifinals. Belle Vernon is carrying an eight-game winning streak into the finals. The Leopards’ defense is yielding a scant 8.9 points per game.

Northwestern Lehigh is making its first appearance in the state finals and is the first District 11 team since Parkland in 2015 to reach the state finals. There has not been a District 11 state champion in football since Brendan Nosovitch led Allentown Central Catholic to the Class 3A championship in 2010 (before the 6A classification in 2016). The Tigers got here by beating District 3 champion Wyomissing, 33-24, in the state semis. Dalton Clymer, Northwestern Lehigh’s single-season TD record holder, was the difference-maker, scoring three times, twice rushing, and one TD reception.

How they got here:

Belle Vernon (7) 12-1
2023 Season
Total Points Scored 530 Total Points Allowed 123
Average Points Scored 40.7 Average Points Allowed 9.4
2023 Playoffs – 4 games
Total Points Scored 166 Total Points Allowed 30
Average Points Scored 41.5 Average Points Allowed 7.5



Northwestern Lehigh (11) 15-0
2023 Season
Total Points Scored 662 Total Points Allowed 156
Average Points Scored 44.1 Average Points Allowed 10.4
2023 Playoffs – 5 games
Total Points Scored 219 Total Points Allowed 73
Average Points Scored 43.8 Average Points Allowed 14.6

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