Bethel Park Wins OT Thriller
Written by: Billy Splain on Saturday, December 6th, 2008
It’s been a long time since Wilson was this deep into the playoffs, and as Blackhawk coach Jeff Methany said “it’s been forever since Bethel Park was the same”. Today by winning the Western Final game in a 38-35 overtime thriller before a packed Memorial Stadium in State College Forever will last another week for the Blackhawks. Led by QB Erik Olsen who was 16 of 25 for 297 yards with 4 tds and Sr. wideout John Schademan who had 132 yds and 3 tds on 10 receptions the Blackhawks outlasted the Bulldogs in an epic shootout at the end.
The tone of the game was set on 3rd and short from the 23 on the first series of the game. As the Bulldog defense decimated the front line and tackled ball carrier Lyle Marsh in the backfield for a loss someone got carried away and a personal foul gave Bethel Park new life, which they used to drive the distance ending with a 7 yard td pass to Schademan, the pat making the score 7-0 at the 5:52 mark of the first quarter.
Wilsons’ first attempt at offense ended on 2nd down as Zacc Groff fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Andrew Fossick, giving the Blackhawks great field position at the 49 of Wilson. “I owe that first stop of their offense (Bethel Park) to my defense” said Groff at halftime. What he meant was the 3 and out aided by one of several sacks by Jon Wagner. 4 plays later Wilson QB Steve Huber hit a streaking Brandon Keeny down the sideline for 6 and just like that the shootout was on.
After trading possessions several times Wilson got the ball with just under 7 minutes in the half at the Bethel Park 47 and Huber went to work. He took his team downfield in 8 plays, highlighted by a 23 yard pass to Tyler Beck setting up the 1st and goal that B ulldog rb Dylan Stopper used to stomp for four yards and a td giving his team the lead, 14-7.
It only took two plays for Bethal ParK to tie it up. On 2nd and 8 from thier own 20, Lyle Marsh burst through the middle wide open and Olson hit him in stride, the Senior standout then went 80 yards untouched to paydirt.
With 2:30 left in the first half and the game tied at 14, Wilson was aided on the ensuing kickoff by a personal foul penalty setting them up at the Blackhawk 40. Using their timeouts wisely the dogs drove straight down to the endzone and Andy Capozello scored from 21 yards out on a nice pass play giving Wilson a 21-14 lead. They held Bethel Park on the next set of downs and got the ball back with 54 seconds to go in the half. Using precise passing and timeouts wisely the Bulldogs again put themselves in scoring position with 24 seconds to go at the Blackhawk 24 but a TD pass to Tyler Beck was called back on a holding penalty. The score at the half was 21-14.
It seemed as though at the start of the 3rd quarter both teams got too much heat in the locker rooms as neither could seem to do anything right. But after a series of strange penalties and failed gadget plays Bethal Park decided it was time to go. Getting the ball at their own 14 they drove the distance of the field as the wind picked up, snow flurries started flying and reporters pens started freezing. In a drive that ate up almost half the 3rd quarter Schademan snagged a fade pass from Olson and the score to start the 4th quarter was 21-21.
Wilson started the 4th in great fashion, only to end on a pick by who else, Jon Shademan, who returned the ball to the 35. Wilson was flagged for a facemask on the tackle giving the Blackhawks the ball on the 50. They got as close as the Wilson 7 before Jordan Holbert burst around end and sacked Olson at the 17. A 4th down pass went incomplete and Wlson took over.
The Bulldogs then began what looked to be the game winning march but on 4th and less than one at the Bethel Park 25 with 55 seconds remaining, running back Dylan Stopper was stuffed just inches shy of the first down and on to overtime we went.
Wilson started with the ball and on 2nd and 1 Stopper crossed the goal line with a 1 yard td pass, the pat making the score 28-21. 2 plays later Brian Vukela hauled in a 13 yard td and we were off to the 2nd OT tied at 28. Shademan got his last td of the day with a nice 8 yard reception and the hawks led 35-28 but on 4th and 1 of Wilsons next possession Huber took the keeper and tied the score again. it looked as though this game would go on forever, but as I said in the beginning forever can only continue for one team. On 4th down Wilson attempted a fake field goal but the passed ball was batted away in the endzone and Bethel Park could smell victory needing only a field goal in their 3rd ot possession to make the trip to Hershey. On 3rd and 6 the Hawks decided it was time and attempted the winning kick only to have it sail to the right, but a running into the kicker penalty gave them one more try and again on 3rd down, Patrick Lydon lined up and booted what was FINALLY the last play of the game.
This was a great game played by two great teams but unfortunately it had to end someones season. Wilson has no reason to keep their heads down. They had a great season.
Bethal Park will play in Hershey next Saturday at 7p.m. against Bethlehem Liberty for the PIAA AAAA State Championship.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball