Penn-Trafford rolls to win over Bethel Park
Penn-Trafford used a variety of offensive weapons in a perfect regular season, but now that it's playoff time, Manny is the man.
Senior running back Manny Simpson ran for 160 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries to lead a methodical Warriors offense to a 21-0 victory over visiting Bethel Park in a WPIAL Quad-A first-round playoff game.
For the fourth-seeded Warriors (10-0), it was the first playoff win since they topped North Allegheny in a first-round game in 1999. Penn-Trafford advances to a quarterfinal against fifth-seeded Gateway, which P-T defeated in the regular season, 16-14, on Sept. 23.
"I think we moved the ball the way we wanted to," Penn-Trafford coach John Ruane said. "The line was terrific, and the backs ran well. Everyone who went in the game ran the ball well, including Zach Emerick on his carries."
"We like to be able to run the ball, kill the clock and not let the other team's offense on the field," Simpson said. "That's how you win football games, with your defense stepping up big and your offense eating up the clock."
Emerick, the Warriors' senior quarterback, threw for 64 yards on 5 for 7 passing, but he also ran for 50 yards and Penn-Trafford's first two touchdowns, both 1-yard quarterback sneaks.
It was Simpson who was the workhorse from the start, however, as he ran the ball 19 times in the first half, including eight of P-T's first nine plays to set up Emerick's first score.
"Tonight was standard Manny Simpson," Ruane said. "He wants the ball, and we want to give it to him. He's always running downhill; he's always getting positive yardage, and that's what he does."
Bethel Park's offense was never able to get on track and finished the game with 85 yards of total offense. The Black Hawks had only three possessions and one first down in the second half, as Penn-Trafford dominated time of possession and ran out the final 9:24 of the game on one drive, which it ended by taking a knee at the Bethel Park 20.
"They're pretty good up front, and they've got a good back," Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny said. "We got a stop early and made some big plays, but we never really threatened them. They're a far superior team to where we are."