Golden Hawks Cruise Past Zephyrs With Second Half Surge
By Brian Ptashinski BPtashinski on Twitter
With starting quarterback Javon Clements standing on the sidelines on crutches, backup signal-caller Liam Nixon didn’t miss a beat Friday night as his Bethlehem Catholic team defeated Whitehall 40-20 before a large Senior Night crowd at Zephyr Stadium.
The Golden Hawk defense assisted in the win by scoring 23 points in the contest. It was the defense that created the first points on the scoreboard. With Whitehall in punt formation at their own 22-yard line a bad snap went over Zach Gilbert’s head. Becahi’s Brandon Kelly scooped up the loose ball on the one and crossed the goal line with 3:14 left in the opening quarter and giving his team a 7-0 lead. Whitehall did manage to answer that score with the ensuing drive, culminating with a nine-yard burst by Tavion George with just 34 seconds remaining in the corner. From there, the Golden hawk defense took over. Nick Petros placed a perfect punt that landed dead at the Zephyr one, after a holding on Whitehall moved the ball back half the distance. On the first play, Ralf Lozada, broke through the line and laid a devastating hit on running back George for a two point safety and a 9-7 lead with 8:11 left till half.
Bethlehem Catholic’s offense did mange to find their way in the quarter as well, as Petros, lined up at wide receiver hauled in a 60 yard over-the-shoulder pass from Nixon and took it to the house giving his team a 16-7 lead with 4:12 left in the quarter. The Hawks defense again stepped up to a Zephyr challenge as Whitehall drove the ball inside the Beca five with under a minute to play. Four plays came up empty and Whitehall wasted an opportunity heading to the locker room.
Whitehall received the second half kickoff, but on the second play of the drive from their own 18, Gilbert’s pass in the flat was picked off by Daizhun Rhodes, who returned it 30 yards for a score and a 23-7 lead for the visitors. Petros got back in the action as he out wrestled a Zephyr defender on a 25-yard lob pass from Nixon in the back of the end zone making the score 30-7 with 3:12 left in the third quarter. Whitehall again drove the ball deep in Hawk territory late in the quarter, but Gilbert’s pass was errant. Karim Powell made the interception and returned it 98 yards with a minute left and a 37-7 lead.
“It took us awhile to get going tonight with Nixon under center. We jumped a few times early, not used to the cadence, but once the guys adapted we were off and running on all cylinders,” stated Hawks coach Kyle Haas after the game. “We had all the confidence in Liam’s ability. He competed all off season. We trust him to lead us while Javon is out.”
Nixon finished the night completing five of nine passes for 148 yards. The Hawks leading rusher, Randy Terry, carried the ball 25 times for 156 yards on the night. Antonio Tavares closed out the scoring for the victors with a 28-yard field goal with 6:12 left.
Whitehall managed to score two late scores. Dabriel Ayala scored from six yards out and Devin Castro hauled in back-up quarterback Ethan Parvel’s 26 yard pass with 18 seconds left in the contest.
Bethlehem Catholic (7-1, 6-1 EPC South) will face cross-town rival Freedom next Friday night. Whitehall (4-4, 3-4 EPC South) will travel to play Stroudsburg (6-2) who lost 45-21 to Allentown Central Catholic Friday night.
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