Bethel Park defeats Peters Township to remain perfect in conference

Saturday, October 16, 2021 | 12:07 AM

Coming off a winless season and getting off to a slow 1-3 start this year, Bethel Park might have had the gnawing feeling of “here we go again.”

But the Black Hawks have righted ths ship in a big way. Bethel Park improved to 5-3 overall and, more importantly, 3-0 in the Allegheny 6 Conference with a 38-8 win at home over Peters Township on Friday night. It was Bethel Park’s fourth consecutive victory.

“We have a ton of respect for Peters Township,” said Bethel Park coach Brian DeLallo. “Any victory against them is a big victory.”

Bethel Park took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Max Blanc found Jack Kirchner in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Blanc completed all five of his passes on the Black Hawks’ first drive.

DeLallo has seen significant improvement for Bethel Park during its winning streak.

“Our kids played great,” he said. “The last month, they have been learning how to win: eliminate turnovers, play solid defense and special teams. And that’s what we’ve been doing.”

The Blackhawks then took advantage of short fields for their next two scores.

Troy Volpatti capped a 43-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to put Bethel Park up 14-0. Then, after Austin Caye intercepted a Sam Miller pass and returned it to the 11-yard line, Blanc scored from 1 yard to give the Black Hawks a 21-0 halftime lead.

Peters Township finally scored in the fourth quarter. Following a Cody Geddes field goal for Bethel Park, Miller hit Carter Shanafelt for a 10-yard touchdown, and after those two combined on the 2-point conversion, the score was 24-8.

But Bethel Park would get the final two scores. Volpatti capped the ensuing drive with his second touchdown run, this one from 33-yards.

Then, the Bethel Park defense fittingly rounded out the scoring with points of its own. Joe Thimons forced a Richie Woods fumble that popped up in the air. Junior linebacker Gavin Moul grabbed the ball in stride and raced 55 yards to the end zone to make the final score 38-8.

DeLallo, who was the offensive coordinator last season and now coordinates the other side of the football for Bethel Park, was pleased with the defensive effort.

“Our kids played hard. They run to the ball. They tackle and are very physical,” he said. “The thing is, we’re very smart on defense as well.”

Volpatti carried the ball 19 times for 101 yards and two scores. Volpatti leads Class 5A with 15 touchdowns. Blanc completed 10 of 19 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown while adding a rushing TD.

“We have really tailored the offense around Max (Blanc) being under center,” DeLallo said. “We know we have a good tailback (Volpatti), so interior runs and play-action passes have worked. We have good kids who are really executing the gameplan well.”

Miller provided most of the offense for the Indians (4-4, 0-3). The senior quarterback ran for 75 yards on 17 carries and threw for 132 yards and the lone touchdown for Peters Township.

Peters Township, which has won or shared the conference title the past three seasons, now will have to fight for a playoff spot with tough games remaining against West Allegheny and South Fayette.

Bethel Park has its sights set on a conference championship, and that task begins with a battle for first place next week on the road against undefeated and top-ranked Moon.

DeLallo sized up the Tigers before the upcoming showdown.

“They’re very physical,” he said. “Ben Bladel may be one of the better players I’ve seen in a few years. We better know where he is. We were lucky enough last week to watch the second half (vs. Peters Township) on Saturday morning. They beat us pretty good last year, and they are a very experienced and senior-laden team.

“It always feels good to win in our conference, but the reward is we get to go play Moon next week.”

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

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