Bethel Park notebook: Brian DeLallo gets coach of year award as parting gift

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Saturday, January 21, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park’s Brian DeLallo was named coach of the year in the Class 5A Allegheny Six football conference.

Call it a going-away present for DeLallo.

After coaching the Black Hawks for four seasons, DeLallo stepped down following the team’s final game in 2022.

“I retired, or maybe more accurately stated, ‘stepped away,’ to focus on my health,” DeLallo said. “The demands of teaching AP and honors classes, combined with the demands of being a head football coach at a 5A school, made it difficult to find time to exercise, prepare the right meals and get adequate amounts of sleep, all of which have become essential elements of my battle with diabetes.

“During the season, my weight ballooned, as did my blood sugar and blood pressure. I also am in need of knee-replacement surgery. I have already had one back surgery and fought severe back pain for much of the season. All of these problems are connected to my weight.

“If I can take off the weight and have confidence I can maintain that weight loss, or I can find a situation that allows me the time to exercise and do proper meal prep, especially during the season, I will likely return to coaching. However, until those things happen, I have to step away and focus on my health.”

Bethel Park won the conference championship with a 5-0 record, advanced to the semifinal round of the WPIAL playoffs and finished with a 10-2 overall record.

Senior running back Austin Caye led the Black Hawks in rushing with 719 yards on 175 carries. He scored six touchdowns.

“I think the team performed great this year,” Caye said. “Obviously, it didn’t end how we would have liked, but we won a conference championship and that’s something we should be proud of.”

Seven Bethel Park players were named first-team all-conference — four on offense and three on defense.

Caye and sophomore Ryan Petras were at-large selections and were joined on offense by senior guard Braedon Del Duca and senior tight end Ian Currie. Senior DB Dinari Clacks, senior ILB Gavin Moul and senior OLB Aidan Currie were the picks defensively.

“I will miss the camaraderie of the locker room, the coaches’ office and the practice field the most,” DeLallo said. “Football is about relationships and teaching kids to be better players, students and people. Through that process, you form so many great memories and lasting friendships.”

The Black Hawks defeated Baldwin, 36-7, Upper St. Clair, 27-14, Moon, 56-6, South Fayette, 28-9, and Peters Township, 27-21, in conference play in 2022, outscoring the five teams by a 174-57 overall margin.

“It is an honor to be recognized by other coaches in a conference that has such great coaching and great kids,” DeLallo said. “Nobody ever won coach of the year without great players and a great coaching staff behind him.

“That’s why I am pushing hard for Phil Peckich, my assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, to get the (head coaching) job. He will keep a staff together that has developed this team from a winless season to a conference championship in just two years.”

Gaston, Jackson, Zeminski selected

A trio of players on the Bethel Park boys soccer team were named all-section in 2022.

Bethel Park’s Henry Gaston, a junior midfielder/defender, Miles Jackson, a senior forward/midfielder, and Jaycob Zeminski, a senior midfielder, were voted onto the all-section team in Section 3-3A.

“I was ecstatic when I found out they were named to the all-section team,” coach Doug Fink said. “I feel that all three of them definitely deserved this honor, and it is also inspirational for our younger players to try to achieve this accolade for next season.

“All three of these student-athletes made me proud to be their coach.”

Gaston, who netted 10 goals in 2022, also earned All-WPIAL status.

“Henry has one of the best work ethics I have seen in my 21 years at Bethel Park High School,” Fink said. “He reads the game extremely well, trains hard in the offseason and was also named All-WPIAL. I’m stoked to have him back for another season. Henry will be a senior next year and will definitely be looking to play soccer in college.”

Bethel Park’s veteran coach said Zeminski is proof that sometimes great things come in small packages.

“Although Jake is not the biggest guy, he has the heart of a lion,” Fink said. “He’s extremely versatile and never afraid to get stuck in on a tackle. Jake led our team as one of our senior captains. He is an unselfish person and would do whatever it takes for the team to achieve success.”

Jackson was the Black Hawks’ leading goal scorer in 2022 with 12.

“Miles Jackson also led our team as another one of our senior captains,” Fink said. “He is a gifted athlete. He has so many weapons in his arsenal with his strength, skill and speed. Miles was our leading goal scorer this past season and at times he also played as our goalkeeper. He is currently looking at some local colleges to continue playing soccer at the next level.”

The Black Hawks wrapped up second place in Section 3-3A with an 11-3 record and ended up 14-6 overall after advancing to the WPIAL quarterfinals.

Bethel Park started out 0-3 then won 12 games in a row before ending the regular season with two losses in its final three games.

The Black Hawks blanked Mars, 1-0, in the first round of the playoffs before losing a 6-0 decision to WPIAL champion Moon.

“Every season has ups and downs, but I was proud of all the boys, especially after we lost our first three matches of the season,” Fink said. ” We seemed to rally together after a tough start and played more like a team than individuals.

“Sometimes a loss is not necessarily a bad thing if you can learn from it, and I feel that we certainly did. Of course, we would have liked to go beyond the quarterfinals of the WPIAL playoffs, but we lost to an outstanding Moon team that finished 21-1-1 on the season and was also crowned WPIAL champion.”

Bethel Park won eight times via shutout and five times by allowing just one goal.

“Our goalkeepers, Luke Rubican, Cole Shughart and Miles Jackson, combined for eight clean sheets,” Fink said.

The Black Hawks built up a 59-20 scoring advantage in the regular season and, including the playoffs, outscored the opposition 60-26.

“I’d really like to thank Jay Zeminski and Josh Kicinski, my assistant coaches, for their dedication to making our program better,” Fink said. “Jay and Josh are quality coaches and people that inspire our players to do better on the pitch and in life.

“I thought we worked well as a coaching staff, and I’m looking forward to working with these gentlemen again next season.”

Jackson’s younger brother Xavier, a freshman forward, ranked among the team’s leading scorers in 2022 with nine goals.

Girls soccer well-represented

Six members of the Bethel Park girls soccer program were voted all-section in 2022.

The Black Hawks’ all-section selections consisted of senior midfielder Eva Blatz, sophomore goalkeeper Freya Blatz, freshman midfielder Callee Dalbon, sophomore forward Grace Ferency, senior defender Kirsten Horgan and senior midfielder Meghan Tischler.

Bethel Park’s girls team posted an 8-4-2 record in Section 2-4A, good for fourth place, and finished with a 10-4-2 regular-season record.

The Black Hawks started out 6-0, logging five shutouts and outscoring the opposition by a 26-1 margin. In all, Bethel Park held a 48-9 regular-season scoring advantage and registered nine shutouts.

Bethel Park then lost to WPIAL champion North Allegheny, 2-1, in the first round of the playoffs.

Seniors selected as PIHL all-stars

Three senior members of the Bethel Park hockey team were chosen to compete in the PIHL All-Star Games on Jan. 29 at the Robert Morris Island Sports Center.

Voted onto the Class 3A squad were Bethel Park forwards Christian Strang and Aaron Ali and defenseman Luke Henderson.

Strang was named PIHL Class AAA Player of the Month for November.

Kernan wins title

The Bethel Park wrestlers started off the 2022-23 season with a team championship.

Bethel Park had one champion and 10 placewinners to grab the team title at the Eastern Area Invitational held Dec. 2-3 at Gateway.

The Black Hawks finished with 212 points. Plum followed with 195 and Penn-Trafford was third with 174.5.

Bethel Park’s individual champion was junior Mason Kernan at 133 pounds. The Bethel Park grappler won the title by a 19-2 technical fall over West Mifflin’s Logan Chedwick.

As of Jan. 15, Kernan was 17-2 overall and ranked fourth in Class 3A at 127 pounds in the Trib HSSN WPIAL individual wrestling rankings.

Placing second for the Black Hawks at the Eastern Area Invite were a couple of sophomores, Ethan Higgins (139) and Dheyaa Danyan (152), and junior Landon Hartman (215), who won nine of his first 10 decisions this season.

Boff paces Bethel Park girls

Senior guard Mary Boff led the Bethel Park girls basketball team with 21 points against Peters Township in the team’s section opener and 16 versus McKeesport in a nonsection matchup.

Carley O’Mara, a senior forward, and Becky Gillenberger, a junior forward, contributed 14 and 10 points against the Indians. Senior guard Sophia Nath netted 14 and sophomore forward Ella Sabatos chipped in with 12 against the Tigers.

The starting lineup for the girls basketball team earlier this season consisted of Boff, Nath and junior Ella Harmon at guard, and O’Mara and Sabatos at forward.

Leading reserves included Gillenberger, senior guard Olivia Willig, senior forward Isabella Boman and sophomore guard Sadie Orie.

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Guffey, Brown combine for 39

Senior guard Ben Guffey scored 22 points for Bethel Park’s boys basketball team and Nick Brown, a junior guard, added 17 in a 69-42 season-opening win over East Allegheny at the South Park Tip-off Tournament.

Two weeks later, a steal by Guffey and a bucket by junior guard Michael Mathias with 2.3 seconds remaining in the game lifted Bethel Park to a 56-54 victory over Baldwin in a nonsection matchup.

Guffey and junior forward Shawn Davis each scored 19 points for the Black Hawks, who improved to 4-0.

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