Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

Belle Vernon, Penn Trafford punch ticket to WPIAL final; GCC girls soccer fall in state championship; Local hockey teams continue to roll

Mon Nov 22, 2021 - 2:48PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Mon Nov 22, 2021 - 2:50PM

Belle Vernon Area dispatches of rival Thomas Jefferson in semis

Top-seeded Belle Vernon Area secured its spot in the WPIAL Football Championship, defeating rival Thomas Jefferson 21-7 in the Class 4A semifinals at West Mifflin High School on Friday. In the process, the Leopards (10-0) knocked off TJ for the second time this season, after edging the Jaguars 28-21 during the regular season. In the rematch, BVA quarterback Devin Whitlock posted a pair of rushing scores, as he provided 20 carries for 146 yards. His first score spanned 22 yards, and he added a 79-yard surge that staked the Leopards to a 14-0 edge in the first quarter. That score remained intact until the fourth quarter, when Belle Vernon sophomore Quinton Martin scored on a 19-yard run to make it 21-0. Martin contributed 39 yards rushing, 46 yards receiving, and also snagged an interception. A touchdown run in the final minute by Thomas Jefferson QB Joe Lekse prevented the shutout. Belle Vernon Area limited the Jaguars to just 173 yards of offense. Belle Vernon, which claimed its only WPIAL football title in 1995, will face No. 2 Aliquippa (10-1), which edged McKeesport Area in overtime. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday at Heinz Field.

Penn-Trafford football advances to WPIAL Championship

For the third time since 2015, Penn-Trafford will compete in the WPIAL Championship game. The No. 2 Warriors scored a 24-6 victory against third-seeded and defending champion Pine-Richland in the 5A semifinals on Friday at Gateway High School. Cade Yacamelli scored three touchdowns in the second half, as the Warriors pulled away after holding just a 3-0 halftime lead against the Rams. After the intermission, Penn-Trafford's defense forced a three-and-out, and the Warriors turned it into points on a 33-yard touchdown run by Yacamelli to go up 10-0. The score remained that way until midway through the fourth quarter, when Yacamelli capped off an 80-yard drive with a short plunge into the endzone. The Rams (7-5) responded quickly, as quarterback Ryan Palmieri connected with Alex Mellis on a 52-yard touchdown pass for Pine-Richland’s lone score. But Penn-Trafford sealed the victory as Seth Dunlap recovered the ensuing onside kick and Yacamelli scored his third touchdown of the contest on a 17-yard jaunt. Yacamelli ran for 208 yards on 19 carries, while quarterback Carter Green went for 95 yards on 17 attempts. In pursuit of their first WPIAL title, the Warriors will head to Heinz Field on Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup against top seed Moon Area (12-0), which edged Penn Hills in the semifinals.

GCC girls soccer falls in PIAA final

For the second year in a row, Greensburg Central Catholic’s girls soccer team reached the PIAA Class 1A Championship. Unfortunately for the Centurions, they faced the same opponent both times, as Southern Columbia repeated as state champs with a 4-0 win against GCC on Saturday in Hershey. Southern Columbia scored twice in the first six minutes, courtesy of two goals by Loren Gehret. The Tigers added another first-half goal, and sealed the outcome with a second-half marker, both assisted by Gehret. Greensburg Central Catholic (18-3-0) was in pursuit of its third PIAA crown. To reach the state title game, GCC edged Steel Valley 2-1 earlier last week in a rematch of the WPIAL Class 1A Championship. Sara Felder and Addison Vacanti tallied for GCC, while Lyndsey Szekely notched eight saves for the victory.

Franklin Regional, PT hockey continue to roll

Both Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford continued their impressive campaigns on the ice last week, as the Panthers and Warriors notched victories to remain near the top of the standings in Class AA. On Monday, Franklin Regional outclassed South Fayette 7-2, while Penn-Trafford rallied for a 7-4 triumph against Shaler Area. Host Franklin Regional wasted little time in establishing command, scoring three times in the first period and holding a 4-0 lead early in the second period. Matty Knizner led the Panthers with two goals, both shorthanded, and an assist, while Zachary Zeto also produced a pair of goals. Additionally, Chase Williams, Roman Cicco, and Adam Hoff notched two points in the win, while Nolan Shilling recorded 24 saves in net. Conversely, Penn-Trafford trailed the Titans 4-1 in the second period, but scored the final six goals of the contest. Nate Loughner led the way with a hat trick and an assist, while Ryan Crombie also totaled four points, courtesy of two goals and two helpers. Jackson Kerrigan earned the win in net with 22 stops. As a result, Franklin Regional sits at 5-0-0, and with 10 points trails only Armstrong in the Class AA East Division. Penn-Trafford has eight points, with a mark of 4-1-0, and sits in third place in the division.

Three Seton Hill football players named all-conference

A trio of Seton Hill University football standouts were selected to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) All-Conference teams last week. Running back Logan Wiland, and linebackers Jaylen McDuffie and Jayden Emberton-Gaines were honored. Wiland, a redshirt senior, was a first-team selection, as he tied for first in the PSAC with 1,236 yards rushing, and posted 10 touchdowns. McDuffie, a senior, was also a first-team honoree, as he notched 105 tackles, including 11 for loss, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Emberton-Gaines, a redshirt senior, was a PSAC Second-Team choice, as he registered 95 tackles, 3.0 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Recommended News