Westinghouse gets past Farrell and into PIAA semifinals for 2nd straight season

Friday, November 24, 2023 | 11:24 PM

In the last two seasons, the Westinghouse and Farrell football programs have crossed paths in the PIAA Class 2A playoffs with each team winning once.

In the rubber match, the Westinghouse Bulldogs traveled to Farrell, the District 10 champion, and beat the Steelers for the second year in a row — this time in thrilling come-from-behind fashion, 36-20, in a state quarterfinal at Paulekas Stadium on Friday night.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” Westinghouse coach Donta Green said. “We’ve never played in anything like that. Our guys just fought. I know I told people in preseason that we aren’t as talented as last season and it was going to be hard to replace the talent that we lost, but we are going to be a better team.”

“The kids never quit and never blinked when they were down 14-0 and they fought until the very last second.”

Down 20-12 with 10:24 remaining, the Bulldogs (12-0) turned to senior quarterback Khalil Green’s arm when Green found an uncovered K’Shawn Hawkins on a 68-yard touchdown pass that tied the game.

The Bulldog defense remained strong on the next two Farrell (11-2) offensive possessions. With the game still tied with 2:43 remaining, the Bulldogs turned again to Green as he connected with Taymir O’Neal on a 68-yard touchdown reception to give the Bulldogs the 28-20 lead.

Green went 11 of 17 for 239 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and four total touchdowns — three passing and one rushing.

“We have all the faith in him,” Donta Green said. “He’s one of those kids that nothing ever shakes him. If he throws a touchdown pass or an interception, he comes to the sideline the same exact way. He’s a joy to coach.”

Lloyd Penn picked off Farrell’s senior quarterback Kabron Smith to thwart any Steeler comeback. Sophomore Kyshawn Robinson had a 30-yard interception return to add another score in the final seconds.

“Part of the halftime adjustments was we needed to play our brand of football,” Green said. “It wasn’t the easiest environment. The defense came out flying around how we knew they could play.”

Westinghouse will move on to face Beaver Falls in the state semifinals next Friday at a site and time to be determined. Beaver Falls defeated Steel Valley, 14-12, in the WPIAL Class 2A championship earlier Friday.

Green and the Bulldogs will look to return to the PIAA Class 2A championship game, where they fell to Southern Columbia last year.

“We will enjoy the win tonight,” Green said. “We will enjoy the ride home tonight. Right back to work tomorrow. We haven’t seen Beaver Falls yet, but I’m pretty sure the guys will be ready and prepared for it.”

The Bulldogs fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter but finally got on the board just before half when Westinghouse’s defense stood tall on a fourth-and-short play by the Steelers that did not convert.

After taking over at the Steelers 44-yard line, Green connected with Lloyd Penn on a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it a one-score game, 14-6, going into half.

On the opening kickoff of the second half, the Bulldogs forced a Steelers fumble and took over again with another short field. Green converted on a fourth down and rumbled for a 13-yard gain to give the Bulldogs a fresh set of downs. A few plays later, Green called his own number for a 3-yard touchdown run as the Bulldogs narrowed the deficit to 14-12 with 7:27 remaining in the third quarter.

Farrell extended its lead to 20-12 when senior quarterback Kabron Smith ran it in from 3 yards out with 11:09 in regulation.

The Steelers started the scoring when senior running back Brandon Chambers scored on a 10-yard run after starting the drive at the Bulldogs 29-yard line.

The Bulldogs drove down the field on their next drive, but the Farrell defense forced a fourth down at Farrell’s 18-yard line. Green missed a Bulldog receiver for a touchdown.

The Steelers immediately made Westinghouse pay as Chambers took the ball to the house for an 83-yard touchdown run to give Farrell a 14-0 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter.

Chambers finished with 161 yards on 24 carries for the Steelers.


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