Becahi to battle Saucon for crown
Bethlehem Catholic will see a familiar foe Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the District 11 4A football championship when they take on Saucon Valley at Nazareth.
The Golden Hawks advanced thanks to a 48-7 demolition over Pottsville last week, but face a tougher task with the Panthers this week, fresh off their 41-10 thumping over Central Catholic in the opening round of districts.
This will mark the fourth straight year Becahi (9-2) will square off with Saucon Valley (7-4) in the postseason, with Becahi winning two out of the last three, including last year’s 27-21 victory in the district final.
The one obstacle head coach Joe Henrich will be facing this week is the injury bug, which has depleted the Hawks depth over the last few weeks of the season. The Hawks were without running back Tavion Banks and wide receiver Daizhun Rhodes in the win over Pottsville and lost Shamus Williams and Zahir Seabrooks to injuries last week too.
Banks appears to be likely out again this week, however Henrich expects Rhodes to be back in action this week.
“We’ll have to evaluate all our guys over the course of this week, but we expect to have some guys back for this week,” Henrich said. “DaDa is cleared to go and Tavion is getting closer.”
Bisko took the lead role in the back field for the Hawks last week, rushing for 124 yards and two touchdowns to pace Becahi. The Hawks led 21-0 at halftime, thanks to an 82-yard TD pass from Javon Clements to Christian Drayton, followed by a one-yard Bisko plunge. Peter Iselo capped the first half scoring with a 25-yard interception return.
The Hawks scored four times in the fourth quarter to put Pottsville (4-7) away.
There won’t be anything easy about taking on Saucon Valley this week, after the Panthers forced eight Central Catholic turnovers in last week’s win, including five interceptions.
Quarterback Alstan Wolfe scored three times last week and recorded three interceptions to help spur Saucon’s win. Wolfe did most of his damage running, as he rushed for 120 yards on 20 carries. Running back Zach Petiet carried the ball 31 times for 157 yards and three scores as well, presenting a formidable obstacle for Becahi this week in stopping the run.
“The quarterback and running back are both really good,” said Henrich of Saucon. “I think Saucon plays really hard and they’re not going to back down for 48 minutes. I think we understand how they like to operate their system, but they’ve thrown some new wrinkles in there.”
Matching Saucon’s intensity for this contest might be the most important aspect coming out of the gate, as the Panthers will surely be amped up to play Becahi again.
“I think we stress intensity every week,” said Henrich. “People want to take us down and we inspire to be that type of team. It’s going to be a tough game and I know our kids will be ready.”