Bethel Park turns back 2-point conversion to hold off Upper St. Clair

Friday, October 25, 2019 | 11:01 PM

Bethel Park limited Upper St. Clair’s potent offense for the better part of their WPIAL Class 5A Allegheny 8 Conference showdown Friday, so it was only fitting the Black Hawks edged the Panthers, 14-13, after stopping a late 2-point conversion attempt.

Bethel Park (6-3, 5-2) denied the 2-pointer with 1 minute, 42 seconds to play when William Patrizio picked off USC quarterback Ethan Dahlem’s desperation toss as he rolled toward the sideline.

“We’ve been trying to tell our kids that our defense can play with anybody in the WPIAL,” Bethel Park coach Brian DeLallo said. “I mean, that offense (Upper St. Clair), not only are they talented but they wear you down with their pace. … They grinded us down but it came down to one play. It came down to that 2-point conversion.”

With five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Dahlem led Upper St. Clair on a 12-play, 81-yard scoring drive in which the junior went 5 of 6 passing for 67 yards and ran the ball three times for 17 yards, including a 1-yard TD sneak, putting the Panthers down 14-13.

Bethel Park committed an encroachment penalty on the ensuing extra-point attempt, moving the ball to the 1-yard-line and prompting the Panthers (6-4, 4-3) to go for the win.

Instead, Patrizio and Bethel Park stopped them cold.

“Those are tough decisions,” Upper St. Clair coach Mike Junko said. “We had the penalty, which moved us a little closer, and we felt like we had a play we liked. We had the opportunity to take the lead. We were playing pretty good defense all half long, so we felt like we could hold them if we failed to score.

“The opportunity was there to win it. I certainly don’t regret the decision. I would probably do it again if I had the shot at it.”

Bethel Park scored both of its touchdowns in the first half, with the first coming on a 6-yard run by Sean McGowan and the second on a 32-yard pass from Anthony Chiccitt to Jehvonn Lewis.

After being limited to 87 yards of offense in the first half, the Panthers came roaring back in the third quarter, scoring on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Dahlem to Daniel Harkleroad.

McGowan served as the catalyst for the Bethel Park rushing attack. The senior running back ran for 127 yards and a score on 22 carries before exiting the game in the second half with an injury.

Chiccitt completed 4 of 9 attempts for 52 yards and a score. Dahlem went 17 of 25 for 171 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Bethel Park limited Upper St. Clair wide receiver David Pantellis, the leading receiver in Class 5A, to just 59 yards on 10 catches.

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