Central Catholic’s 17-point 2nd quarter propels Vikings past Bethel Park

Saturday, September 10, 2022 | 12:04 AM

One week after defeating last year’s WPIAL Class 6A champions, Bethel Park looked to continue its success, going head-to-head with Central Catholic at Bethel Park High School Stadium.

Central Catholic also had a victory last week against Abraham Lincoln High School. With both teams coming off of strong wins, the game was poised to be a competitive one that would go down to the wire.

Fans wanting a tight game received what they wanted in a 31-22 Vikings victory. It was a two-point game heading into the fourth quarter, and Central Catholic coach Terry Totten enjoys games where both squads are battle-tested.

“It’s a battle, and it’s a challenge,” Totten said. “They’re a hell of a football team. We like the competition We feel that we got a good test tonight, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Central Catholic struck first when Payton Wehner found Jayden Thrift on a 63-yard touchdown pass.

The Black Hawks responded quickly when Tanner Pfeuffer connected with Dinari Clacks for a 73-yard touchdown pass on the drive’s first play. Austin Caye rushed for 2 yards, punching in the 2-point conversion.

After forcing a punt, Bethel Park extended its lead on a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Pfeuffer after a long drive. The Blackhawks led 15-7 after one quarter.

Central Catholic turned the tide in the second. Rowan Kautter booted a 24-yard field goal before a squib kick that was recovered by the Vikings.

The Vikings capitalized and took the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run by Wehner.

Near the end of the first half, Pfeuffer threw a 47-yard pick-six to Central Catholic linebacker Bradley Gompers.

The Black Hawks drove to the Central Catholic 16-yard line on their next possession, but Kaden Wetzel missed a field goal attempt as time expired in the first half. The Vikings’ 17-0 second quarter earned them a 24-15 lead at the end of two.

Both teams had a slow start in the second half, going scoreless for more than 10 minutes straight. Nonetheless, the Black Hawks scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Pfeuffer. The Vikings held some momentum and led after three quarters 24-22.

Bethel Park then manufactured a drive that was nearing field goal range before the Black Hawks turned the ball over on a fumble.

Central Catholic then looked to drain the clock. The Vikings capitalized yet again. With 2:57 left on third and 7, the Vikings put the game out of reach after Wehner hit Gompers for a 52-yard touchdown pass. This gave the Vikings a 31-22 lead.

“It was a perfect thing,” Totten said about Wehner’s throw. “He’s playing at a good level, and we trust him with that type of thing.”

Wehner played a large role in the Central Catholic win, throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown. Wehner also rushed for one touchdown.

Bethel Park had a strong game on offense, tallying more than 300 yards of total offense.

Despite the loss, coach Brian DeLallo likes seeing his team go toe-to-toe with Class 6A football teams.

“We feel like playing these big programs gets you battled tested and gets you ready for conference play and the playoff drive that follows,” DeLallo said. “We like playing these bigger schools, and it’s a great challenge.”

Pfeuffer completed 23 of 28 passes for 270 yards, threw a touchdown pass and rushed for two touchdowns.

DeLallo feels confident going into conference play and looks forward to another conference game next week against Canon-McMillan.

“Our kids fight,” DeLallo said. “We have kids who hate to lose, playing together, who want to win for their teammates. I’m confident we’ll bounce back from this just because of the type of kids we have.”

Central Catholic gets its first taste of conference play next week against Mt. Lebanon.

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