Bethel Park's win can't diminish Kiski Area's journey
Despite his team's season-ending loss, Kiski Area coach Dave Heavner wore a big smile.
“How 'bout them Cavaliers?” the fourth-year coach said. “How 'bout them Cavaliers?”
No. 8 seed and host Bethel Park came out firing, but No. 9 Kiski Area wouldn't go away quietly in a 34-26 loss on Friday night in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.
“In the movie ‘Forrest Gump,' one day Forrest just started to run. When he ran, sometimes he had the sun in his face. Sometimes he had the wind at his back. Sometimes rain came down on him.
But he continued to run. One day he just stopped,” Heavner said. “The lesson I told my players, and the lesson of that movie: It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Even though Kiski Area football stopped tonight, it was about the journey.”
Kiski Area's journey back to the playoffs after a two-year absence looked like it may have an early ending.
The host Black Hawks (7-3) scored on three of their five first-half possessions, including one to end the first half, to build a 21-7 lead.
“We thought we could run the football on them,” Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny said. “I think the numbers would show that we did when we had to,”
Bethel Park rushed for 261 yards, including 150 yards in that first half.
Junior Terron Murphy led the attack.
“He's a good player. He has a lot of wheels,” Metheny said. “It starts with our lineman up front, but Terron's a very good football player.”
Murphy had 136 yards on 15 carries.
Bethel Park senior quarterback Levi Metheny connected with senior receiver Charlie Davis on the game's first two scores for 29 and 25 yards, respectively.
Sophomore John Doleno added a 14-yard rushing score late in the half.
That efficiency looked like it may have put the game out of reach for the Cavaliers (5-5).
Kiski Area had a rough time finding a spark on offense throughout the half.
The Cavaliers posted just 74 yards of offense through the first two quarters. That includes a 63-yard hook-up between seniors Chad Kuhn to Cam Turner to Bethel Park's 2-yard line.
The pass set up Kiski Area's lone score in the first half, a 3-yard run by senior Tariq Gant.
After Bethel Park added another score, a 23-yard pass from Metheny to Davis, Kiski Area rattled off three scores in 5 minutes, 25 seconds.
The first was a 7-yard pass from Kuhn to senior Lincoln Clayton, at the 2:44 mark of the third. Bethel Park missed a field goal on the following possession, setting up Gant for an 80-yard scoring run on the very next play.
After a Kiski Area intereception near midfield, theCavaliers scored two plays later on a 7-yard pass from Kuhn to senior receiver Deshawon Bracy to cut Bethel Park's lead to 28-26.
“We lost this game, but it wasn't because of a lack of effort,” Heavner said.
Bethel Park put the game away when Metheny threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game. He hit senior Jacob Dixon with a 5-yard pass with 3:42 remaining in the game.
“(Levi) is as tough as they come,” Metheny said.
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.