Belle Vernon football team honored at state Capitol

Thursday, April 27, 2023 | 12:12 AM

A perk of winning a state championship in Pennsylvania is the recognition that comes with it from the state government.

Pro teams that win titles go to the White House. PA teams head to Harrisburg.

The Belle Vernon football team was honored Wednesday with a trip to the state Capitol, where the Leopards drew applause from the House of Representatives and Senate.

Belle Vernon went 12-2 and won its first WPIAL title since 1995 and first PIAA championship, both in Class 3A.

The Leopards won with their best effort on Friday nights. This time, they posed for photos on the House steps wearing their Sunday best.

They received a proclamation of their accomplishment.

“It was a really neat experience that they provided,” Belle Vernon coach Matt Humbert said. “Everything about about it was top notch. Getting honored in both chambers and being able to tour most of the capitol was a nice privilege for the players.”

Belle Vernon edged past Neumann-Goretti, 9-8, in the state final.

Most of the team was in attendance at the capitol, including star running back Quinton Martin, who recently committed to Penn State, quarterback and defensive end Braden Laux, linebacker Jake Gedekoh, tight end/defensive end Aiden Johnson and many others.

“It was a cool experience,” Gedekoh said. “Being around teammates just made things more memorable. … We reflected on some season memories.”

Johnson called the visit “humbling.”

”I can speak for the team and say that the experience today was very memorable,” he said. “It was humbling to be recognized by everyone there. We were able to observe the amazing architecture of the building and a variety of historical significance. Not only was it a self-gratifying opportunity, but one of the many ways to reinforce that our hard work paid off.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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