Hawks pound Pottsgrove in opener
For two straight weeks, Bethlehem Catholic has looked like a team of men playing against boys.
The Hawks imposed their will again last Friday night against Pottsgrove, trouncing the Falcons from start to finish en route to a 49-14 victory at Spring-Ford High School in the opening round of the PIAA 4A tournament.
Matt Bisko led the way again for Becahi, rushing for 141 yards and three touchdowns in a contest that reached mercy rule status in the third quarter, as Becahi (11-2) advances to play Selinsgrove on Friday at 7 p.m. in Shamokin.
With three straight mercy-rule victories in each of their playoff games this postseason, it’s been the dominance up front on both sides of the ball that has made Becahi impossible to matchup with so far in the trenches.
“I think we came out and imposed our will and took the spirit out of them,” said Hawks head coach Joe Henrich. “All we heard about coming into this game was about their [Pottsgrove’s] tailback and how he’s going to break all these records and how he averages 200 yards a game and we got after it.
“He got one play and we shut him down outside of that. On offense, we did what we wanted to do and that was to pound it on them and that was awesome.”
Becahi jumped out to a 21-0 lead nine minutes into the game before Pottsgrove quarterback Jay Sisko broke a 65-yard TD run to give the Falcons some hope. That was quickly shut down when Bisko answered on the ensuing drive with a four-yard score to put BC back up by three scores at the end of the first quarter.
Christian Drayton piled on the points for the Hawks to start the second quarter with a 40-yard TD reception from Javon Clements to build the lead to 35-7.
Pottsgrove star running back Rahsul Faison came into the game with 2,851 yards and 41 touchdowns on the season and was looking to make history by eclipsing the 3,000 yard mark.
That never happened.
Faison was bottled up for 87 yards on 10 carries, however, he did break a 79-yard TD run in the second quarter to show a glimpse of his Division-I talent. That was all he could muster on the night, as he looked hobbled with an ankle injury, sitting out the second half of his final career game, as Becahi had no resistance from the Falcons (11-2).
Pottsgrove had a chance to make things interesting down 35-14 in the second quarter, when they had first and goal from the three-yard line.
The Hawks stuffed them on the first three running attempts and Daizhun Rhodes swatted away a fourth down throw to kill any confidence of a comeback the Falcons may have had.
“We just couldn’t get it in down there,” said Pottsgrove head coach Steve Pennypacker. “I knew they [Becahi] were good, but I didn’t think they were that good.”
The one major blow the Hawks suffered in the win and on that fourth down stop by Rhodes was a dislocated finger he suffered on the play that forced him to the hospital. His status for this week is uncertain, but not having him in the lineup would take away the Hawks best receiving threat and one of their best defensive backs.
The Hawks should be favored to knock off Selinsgrove (11-2), the District 4 champion who toppled Bellefonte 37-3 last week.
In taking on the Seals this week, Becahi will see one of the best QB’s they’ve faced this season, as Logan Leiby threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns in the win last week, adding another TD on the ground.
On the season, Leiby has thrown for 3,444 yards and 38 TD’s with 13 interceptions. He’ll be the focal point of slowing down the Seals this week if the Hawks want to make a return trip to the PIAA semifinals.
Still, this marks a special week for the Becahi football program to be preparing for another game the week of Thanksgiving, something that Henrich and company surely aren’t taking for granted.
“If you have an opportunity to be together during Thanksgiving, it’s a special time,” Henrich said. “It’s awesome for these kids and we’re really just dialed in right now. They know the significance of what this means and we’re just excited for the opportunity to keep playing.”