Bethel Park picks off 4 passes en route to defeating West Allegheny

Saturday, September 7, 2019 | 12:01 AM

Bethel Park and West Allegheny came into Friday’s Class 5A Allegheny 8 matchup after wins last week in which both teams ran the football effectively.

The passing game took center stage Friday, which turned out well for the Blackhawks and not so well for the Indians.

Bethel Park (2-0, 2-0) intercepted West Allegheny four times and forced a fumble en route to a 34-14 win. The fumble led to the game’s first points. Jared Miller recovered a Nico Flati fumble, and, three plays later, Anthony Chiccitt found a streaking Jahvonn Lewis for a 52-yard touchdown pass to give the Blackhawks a 7-0 lead.

“Anthony was tremendous tonight,” Bethel Park coach Brian DeLallo said. “Some of those plays were really check-with-mes or choices where he came to the line of scrimmage and was able to chose from different options.”

West Allegheny (1-1, 1-1) responded in two plays. Gavin Miller found John Rink for a 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The point after was blocked, and the score was 7-6.

Bethel Park wasted little time in getting the next score — 12 seconds to be exact. Troy Volpatti scored on a 16-yard run, and the Blackhawks had a 14-6 lead. The touchdown capped a spurt of three scores in six plays spanning 1 minute, 17 seconds.

“You know, last year it was a shootout with these guys,” DeLallo said. “We haven’t played these guys for very long, but it’s developed into a nice rivalry. I think both teams were pretty hyped up at the start. But it settled down, and … nobody scored for the rest of the half.”

Bethel Park got the first points of the second half, and it was Chiccitt hooking up with Lewis again. The senior quarterback found his senior receiver open in the back corner of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. The Blackhawks missed the extra point but led 20-6.

DeLallo likes the versatility that Lewis provides.

“The great thing about Jahvonn and a couple of our other kids is that they’re really smart, and they are position flexible football players,” he said. “We can move them around all over the place and put the football in different kids’ hands to make it tough on opposing defenses.”

The Indians turned to the combination of Miller and Rink with 34 seconds left in the third quarter. The sophomore Miller found Rink at the back of the end zone from 15 yards, and the point after made the score 20-13. That, however, would be the last points of the night for West Allegheny.

Fullback Jack Evans, who scored three touchdowns last week in a win over Woodland Hills, scored on a 2-yard run to put the Blackhawks up 27-13.

Bethel Park’s last score came, fittingly, via interception. Senior defensive back Will Patrizio stepped in front of a Miller pass and returned it 55 yards to make the score 34-13 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously, that (the interceptions) was the biggest part of the game for us. We were able to get pressure and force turnover and that was the difference in the game,” DeLallo said.

Chiccitt and Lewis were the hot combination for Bethel Park. Chiccitt completed 11 of 15 passes for 169-yards and the two touchdowns to Lewis, who finished with four receptions and 102 yards.

“Anthony did a great job tonight. He got out of some heat with his legs. He was just a great leader as we expect him to be,” DeLallo said. “He played really great for us tonight.”

Miller completed 9 of 22 passes for 172 yards. Rink had three receptions for 102 yards and the two scores. The Blackhawks, though, held West Allegheny to 91 yards rushing on 28 carries.

“I thought it was a physical game for both teams. I was pretty happy with the effort” Delallo said. “We were playing a really good team. We also say play the next down and on the next down some of those turnovers came and that was the difference.”

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