Bethel Park loads up on strength, skill, size
Asked what the identity this season's Bethel Park football team will have, coach Jeff Metheny came out strong.
“Probably just the raw strength of the kids,” Metheny said. “So many kids are really strong on this team, and the size is something we haven't had in a long time. This team's real big.”
Bethel Park's offensive line could average almost 285 pounds with Michael Grimm (315 pounds), Ryan Sosnak (295), Casey Schreiner (285) in addition to the (relatively) smaller Kevin Boyle and Shane McNabb.
“It's been a point of emphasis this whole offseason — we've been in the weight room five days a week working hard,” Sosnak said. “The coaches have been working us hard to get stronger so we can overpower people. Not just the linemen; the whole team is stronger. That's the kind of team we want to have at all positions.”
Coming off a WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinalist season in which its only four losses were to three of the eventual WPIAL semifinalists and one to conference champion Mt. Lebanon (Bethel Park beat the fourth semifinalist, Upper St. Clair, during the regular season), the Black Hawks return seven starters on offense and defense.
Included in that group is the starting quarterback (Levi Metheny, Jeff's son), last season's leading rusher (Zachary Enick) and last season's top two leading receivers (Enick and Danny Emma).
“We've got a lot of seniors on the team, and a lot of them played last year, and they've been working real hard,” Jeff Metheny said. “It's a great bunch of kids, so we're excited about the season.”
Levi Metheny had more than 1,000 passing yards, completed 60 percent of his throws and accounted for 14 touchdowns.
It goes without saying that, as a coach's son, he's spent more time around the game than most freshmen. That showed in how Levi Metheny was adept at avoiding turnovers.
“Levi's a tough kid who definitely shows it, especially in the weight room, where he's a real strong kid,” Sosnak said. “I think he'll be a lot better than even last year because that was his first year, and he was still learning and getting into the groove of the tempo of high school football.”
With more than 20 seniors on the roster, if the Black Hawks can avoid injury — or develop sufficient depth — Jeff Metheny believes they can aim high.
“The goals are always the same: to win the league and go to the playoffs and get as far as we can,” he said. “We're high on seniors and high on experience, so we'll see how far our work ethic and our talent takes us.”