New head coach vows to maintain standard at Bethel Park
Tuesday, August 8, 2023 | 12:01 AM
That’s what former Bethel Park coach Brian DeLallo wanted to see in the Black Hawks’ football program. DeLallo resigned in November after four seasons.
Bethel Park went 10-2 in 2022, won the Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference title and reached the WPIAL semifinals. As a going-away present, DeLallo was honored as Coach of the Year in the conference.
“It is an honor to be recognized by other coaches in a conference that has such great coaching and great kids,” DeLallo said at the time. “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.”
Fast forward a few months.
Bethel Park promoted Peckich to head coach in January, giving the Black Hawks that stability DeLallo was hoping for — as well as a coach who’s among the youngest in the WPIAL.
The 31-year-old Peckich is a first-time head coach but brings eight years of experience to the job. Peckich spent five seasons coaching at his alma mater Montour and the past three on the Bethel Park staff.
“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be the head football coach at Bethel Park,” Peckich said. “Our team has had a tremendous offseason and is coming into fall camp healthy. We have put an emphasis on skill development throughout our program.
“We need to continue to develop our roster throughout the nonconference schedule and be ready for conference play. The standard is high here at Bethel Park, and we won’t shy away from that. We expect to win the rivalry game, be in contention for a conference title and be playing meaningful football in mid-to-late November.”
After starting out 2-1, the Black Hawks won seven consecutive games to finish with a 9-1 regular-season record and No. 1 ranking in 5A by Trib HSSN. Bethel Park then edged North Hills, 19-17, in a rematch of their season opener before losing to Upper St. Clair, 17-7, in the WPIAL semifinals.
The Black Hawks have a couple of stars in the making in juniors Tanner Pfeuffer and Ryan Petras.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound Pfeuffer, coached by Peckich, the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season, was highly efficient in the passing department as a sophomore. He completed 115 of 179 passes for 1,509 yards and 14 touchdowns, to go along with 10 rushing touchdowns.
“My expectations for Tanner are to lead our team on a daily basis, continue to improve his skillset and be a coach on the field,” Peckich said. “He’s had a tremendous offseason. With this being year two in our system, he is ready to take his game to the next level.”
Pfeuffer discussed some of the Black Hawks’ goals for 2023.
“To get better each week while going 1-0 at the same time,” he said. “A personal goal I have is to do whatever I can to put my team in a position to win each week and to become a better quarterback and leader overall.”
Pfeuffer has received one scholarship offer this offseason from West Liberty and has been in touch with MAC and FCS schools.
Petras, a 5-9, 170-pound speedster, led the team in receiving with 44 catches for 578 yards (13.1 avg.) and scoring with 17 touchdowns. He also finished second in rushing with 610 yards to account for 1,188 total offensive yards.
“My expectations for Ryan are similar to Tanner’s, to be a leader on our football team,” Peckich said. “Ryan will be a three-year starter and returning first-team all-state player. We will continue to use his dynamic skillset as an athlete by lining him up in multiple positions.”
Petras, who was voted co-offensive player of the year in the conference, has championship thoughts on his mind.
“Our goals are to win a conference title and ultimately win the WPIAL championship,” he said. ”Some goals I’d like to achieve include making first-team all-conference, making all-state and just becoming a better football player and leading my team to success.
“I feel, as a whole, our team is really coming together despite losing a lot of seniors. We expect to have a great season just like last year.”
Two players — senior tackles Jake Brown (5-11, 285) and Dylan Prindle (6-4, 250) — are returning starters the offensive line, as are juniors Jack Bruckner, a WR/DB, Clancy Orie, at TE/DE, and Nathan Tietz, a TE/LB.
Orie logged 35 tackles, two sacks and five tackles for loss last season.
“Starting jobs will be earned in fall camp,” Peckich said. “No one has a starting spot given to them; they will be earned in practices and scrimmages.”
Coach: Phil Peckich
2022 record: 10-2, 5-0 in Class 5A Allegheny Six Conference
All-time record: 478-394-31
Date, Opponent, Time
8.25 at North Hills, 7
9.1 Mt. Lebanon, 7
9.8 at Central Catholic, 7
9.15 Canon-McMillan, 7
9.22 Baldwin*, 7
9.29 at Penn Hills, 7
10.6 Upper St. Clair*, 7
10.13 at Moon*, 7
10.20 South Fayette*, 7
10.27 at Peters Township*, 7
Passing: Tanner Pfeuffer
115-179, 1,509 yards, 14 TDs
Rushing: Austin Caye*
175-787 yards, 6 TDs
Receiving: Ryan Petras
44-578 yards, 17 TDs
• Bethel Park’s coaching staff consists of 14 coaches, led by Peckich, who also serves as offensive coordinator. The others are Keith Huebner (associate head coach/offensive line), Marty Reick (defensive coordinator/safeties), Tyler Huether (special teams/quarterbacks), Joe Ranalli (chief of staff/running backs), Mike Donovan (wide receivers), Jake Dixon (tight ends/fullbacks), Gary Schaff (JV head coach/offensive line), Vinny Ziccardi (defensive line), Jim DelDuca (inside linebackers), Shean Roy (inside linebackers), Jim Engot (outside linebackers), John Moritz (cornerbacks) and Vic DiPrampero (kickers/punters).
• The Black Hawks had 23 seniors, 22 sophomores and 22 freshmen on last year’s team, along with 12 juniors. This year, the varsity roster is comprised of 10 seniors, 23 juniors, 20 sophomores and 24 freshmen.
• The four kicking specialists listed on this year’s roster are seniors Kaden Wetzel, Tom Bova and Ava Knight and sophomore Mia Rapali. Wetzel’s fourth-quarter field goal propelled the Black Hawks to a 19-17 win over North Hills in the WPIAL Class 5A quarterfinals last season. Wetzel is a 5-8, 180-pound linebacker.
• Brown, with 22, and Prindle, with 14, have a combined 36 starts on the offensive line.
Tags: Bethel Park
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