Hawks fall to Pottsville in semis
Bethlehem Catholic head football coach Joe Heinrich knew it was time to break his team’s recent skid over the past month, one in which the Golden Hawks had dropped three of their last four games.
A rematch with Pottsville in the District 11 Class 4A semifinal loomed as possible answer. The Golden Hawks thoroughly defeated the Crimson Tide the past two seasons in the same game.
Unfortunately for Becahi, it didn’t work.
The Golden Hawks (7-5) couldn’t get on track all afternoon, and the Crimson Tide did just enough to come away with an 18-13 victory in Pottsville last Saturday. Pottsville will meet Allentown Central Catholic in the final Saturday night at Northern Lehigh.
It marked the end of a three-year, district title run for the Golden Hawks that extended to the PIAA semifinals in each season.
“We just weren’t clicking on all cylinders,” said Henrich. “There was just something there. I don’t know what it was. We just couldn’t get it going.”
One of their biggest issues was their inability to get running back Tavion Banks free in the open space. Banks, who began the game with over 1,300 yards rushing on a 6.6 per carry average, was limited to 84 yards on 22 carries.
In turn, Pottsville grabbed a 12-0 lead in the second quarter before Bethlehem Catholic struck back with 14 seconds remaining when quarterback Jared Richardson hit Brandon Lysek on a 17-yard scoring strike.
Banks accounted for the Golden Hawks’ final score in the fourth quarter on a two-year run with just under two minutes left in the game.
Heinrich was optimistic his team could find its niche.
“They were really motivated,” he added. “They were excited about the opportunity. I don’t know. We got outplayed today in some ways. These kids worked hard, and we had a good week of practice.
“In the beginning, we were really tentative and too afraid to slip up. So we were a couple of steps slow on everything. I still think we’re a way better football team than the way we’ve been playing. But what you do on the football field is what matters. We weren’t good enough today.
“It’s still football and you still have to go play.”