Bethlehem Catholic outpaces Johnstown, advances to 4A Semifinal
by Doug Keklak
Bethlehem Catholic’s helmet is similar in design to one worn by Oregon during the Chip Kelly era and the Hawks’ offense ran at a pace that would look similar to fans in the northwest. They ran a no-huddle, up-tempo attack en route to a 42-12 victory over Johnstown in a PIAA quarterfinal game held in Chambersburg on Saturday afternoon.
Holding on to a slim 14-6 lead at the half, the Hawks took the second half kickoff and quickly went up two scores with a four play, 56-yard drive that culminated in a 36-yard touchdown run by quarterback Javon Clements. The Hawks went for two after a Trojan penalty moved the ball closer to the goal line but Clements was sacked on a pass attempt.
After a Johnstown three-and-out, the Hawks were able to go up 27-6 after another quick strike drive, this one seven plays, all on the ground, ending in a touchdown for Randy Terry (17 carries, 143 yards, 2 TDs).
Yet another Trojan three-and-out resulted in bigger lead for Becahi as they yet again kept things exclusively on the ground, alternating carries between Terry and Damian Diaz. Terry ultimately got his second touchdown of the game from 21 yards out. The PAT was blocked and it was 33-6 in favor of Becahi.
With just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Trojans’ quarterback Austin Barber threw his third interception of the game when Daizhun Rhoades picked him off at the Johnstown 34-yard line. The Hawks looked like they were going to get another run-exclusive drive that would result in a touchdown. However, on fourth-and-one from the Trojans’ three Coach Kyle Haas opted to go for it rather than attempting a chip shot field goal. Johnstown’s defense held but the momentum was short-lived.
The Trojans started the drive on their own three and lost two yards on their first play just trying to get breathing room. On the next play, Barber was not able to get out of the end zone and was dropped by the Hawks’ defense for a safety.
Becahi took the Tavis Price free kick (punt) at the Johnstown 48 and took all of one play to get themselves in the red zone on a Nicholas Petros 33-yard run. Four plays later, on the second play of the fourth quarter, Diaz ran in from a yard out. Anthony Dasilva’s PAT was good and the 42-6 Becahi lead was good enough to put the running clock mercy rule into effect for the rest of the game.
Barber scored the game’s final points on a sneak from a yard out with 9:10 to go in the game. That score was set up by a 53-yard strike from Barber to Price. After a lengthy delay due to several penalties, a dead ball after the touchdown and consecutive defensive infractions on the conversion attempt, the try for two was ultimately no good.
Johnstown (12-2) actually got on the board first in this contest on a wild play that had Barber connecting with RaShaud Jordan-Maines for a 56-yard touchdown that deflected first off Exree Loe. Mike Marino’s PAT was no good and the Trojans held the first and their only lead of the contest.
Becahi went three and out but on the second play of the Trojans’ ensuing drive, Karim Powell picked off a Barber pass and took it 50 yards to the house. Dasilva’s PAT gave the Hawks their the only lead they would need on the day.
The other Hawks’ first half score was a Clements to Petros 17-yard touchdown strike. Becahi improves to 11-3 on the season and advances to the state semifinal round to take on Imhotep Charter. Aside from the above mentioned Terry’s stats, the Hawks also got strong contributions from Rhodes (11 carries, 59 yards and 3 receptions, 51 yards) and Diaz (7 carries, 31 yards). Junior signal-caller Clements was 7-for-10 passing for 98 yards and touchdown and also had a score on the ground and made some plays in the rushing game himself.
The Trojans season comes to an end but their list of accomplishments cannot be ignored: back-to-back district titles, the most wins in a season and first state playoff win in program history. Today just wasn’t their day as normally prolific offensive producers Bryce Gibson and Loe were held in check. Gibson rushed the ball 11 times for 34 yards while Loe caught just one pass for 21 yards late in the game and also had one carry for two yards out of the wildcat formation.
Junior quarterback Barber was 9-of-18 passing for 190 yards with one touchdown and three picks. He hooked up with seniors Price (4 receptions 68 yards) and Jordan-Maines (2 catches, 86 yards and a touchdown).
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