Bethel Park scores 28 unanswered in playoff defeat of Kiski Area

Friday, November 1, 2019 | 11:16 PM

With 10 minutes left until halftime of Friday’s WPIAL Class 5A first-round matchup at Bethel Park, Kiski Area led the Black Hawks by 10 points and appeared ready to take full control.

But Bethel Park had other ideas.

The seventh-seeded Black Hawks reeled off 28 unanswered points in the second quarter, led by 18 at halftime and went on to score a 45-16 victory.

“Everything we practiced all week, we were able to find success with,” said Bethel Park senior Sean McGowan, who finished with 97 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

His 30-yard TD scamper with 10 minutes, 47 seconds left in the third quarter extended Bethel Park’s lead to 35-10.

McGowan added two catches for 103 yards and a score.

“We just trusted each other and worked together to get this win,” McGowan said. “It feels great.”

Bethel Park (7-3) advanced past the first round for the first time since 2015.

The Black Hawks will take on No. 2 Gateway in the quarterfinals. The Gators defeated Shaler, 35-21, on Friday.

“We had lost three home playoff games in a row, and to get that monkey off our backs, it feels really good,” Bethel Park coach Brian DeLallo said. “It’s a big deal for sure. (The games) are only going to get harder from here.”

Kiski Area, which defeated Mars and Armstrong in its final two regular-season games to finish third in the Northern Conference, ended its season at 5-6.

“It was a tough loss, but I’ve never been more proud of a group of guys,” Kiski Area coach Sam Albert said. “We had a lot of young players out there tonight, and they played hard and fought right up to the end. Bethel Park is a very good team, and they put together some good schemes against us. We were a little banged up, too, and that hurt us.”

Cavaliers junior Kenny Blake, who suffered a sprained ankle last week against Armstrong, tested the ankle in warmups but didn’t play. He finished the season with 980 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns.

“We rehabbed the injury all week,” Albert said. “Kenny’s strength is his speed and vision, and you don’t want to put him out there if he’s not 100 percent.”

Kiski Area scored on its first two drives.

The Cavaliers took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 13 plays, all on the ground, and senior Luke Lander scored from 3 yards with 4 minutes, 13 seconds on the first-quarter clock.

Cody Dykes’ point-after kick made it 7-0.

Kiski Area recovered a fumble near midfield on the third play of Bethel Park’s opening drive, and the Cavaliers converted the turnover into points as Dykes booted a 33-yard field goal with 10:28 left until halftime.

But Bethel Park responded quickly. A 62-yard pass from Anthony Chiccitt to Cooper Shoemaker set up the Black Hawks with a first and goal at the 3.

Jack Evans then took it the rest of the way for the score. John Gummo’s PAT kick was good, and Bethel Park trailed 10-7.

Lander and senior Peyton McCann combined for 99 rushing yards in the first quarter, but the duo was limited to 18 in the second.

Bethel Park forced a punt, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt, and those opportunities set up the final three scores of the half.

McGowan hauled in a 62-yard pass from Chiccitt for a score with 5:00 left until halftime, and he ran one in from 10 yards with 2:06 on the clock. Chiccitt then connected with Shoemaker for 14 yards with 47 seconds left until the break.

Chiccitt ended with five completions in six attempts for 193 yards.

McCann was lost to injury with a little over a minute left in the first half, and he didn’t return. He finished with 13 carries for 75 yards.

Lander carried the ball 23 times for 61 yards.

“Once we settled down, things started to work well for us,” DeLallo said. “They had run like 20 plays before we ran three. We felt we had a good offensive gameplan, and we also made some adjustments with our (defensive) front that really helped us.”

Senior Jehvonn Lewis tallied a 53-yard touchdown run for Bethel Park in the third quarter, and Gummo added a 37-yard field goal in the fourth to cap the scoring for the Black Hawks.

Cavaliers freshman quarterback Lebryn Smith scored on a 6-yard run with 19 seconds left in the fourth to set the final.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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