Monday's Westmoreland Sports Notebook

Penn Trafford wins WPIAL title in thriller; Belle Vernon denied district championship by Aliquippa; Four county soccer players earn All-State honors

Mon Nov 29, 2021 - 5:43PM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Mon Nov 29, 2021 - 5:52PM

Penn-Trafford wins first WPIAL football title in thriller

A missed field goal in the final seconds clinched Penn-Trafford’s first WPIAL football title, as the Warriors edged No. 1 seed Moon Area 24-21 on Saturday at Heinz Field in the 5A Championship. Tigers’ kicker Jacob Wieland missed wide right on a 33-yard attempt with two seconds left. While the game ended with a missed kick, the second-seeded Warriors (11-2) opened the contest with a 34-yard field goal by Nathan Schlessinger to cap an eight-play drive. Moon Area responded with a touchdown on its initial possession, with Ben Bladel scoring on a 44-yard pass from Tyler McGowan. Bladel added another touchdown early in the second quarter to put Moon ahead 14-3. That margin lasted just 10 seconds, however, as Warriors running back Cade Yacamelli exploded for a 53-yard touchdown run on the first play of the drive. With less than four minutes remaining in the half, Penn-Trafford regained the lead when quarterback Carter Green connected with Yacamelli on a 92-yard touchdown pass. Moon (12-1) restored its advantage with just 18 seconds left before halftime, though, as Bladel notched his third touchdown on a 1-yard run. The PT defense clamped down in the second half, holding Moon scoreless, including forcing a turnover on the first possession of the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, Green surged into the end zone on a 29-yard run on fourth down that put PT back in the lead. Moon’s final drive of the contest stalled at the PT 16-yard line, setting the stage for the last-second field goal attempt. Yacamelli compiled 17 rushes for 136 yards and one reception for 92 yards, while Green was 2-of-6 passing for 101 yards, while rushing 17 times for 87 yards. Penn-Trafford begins PIAA play next week with the 5A semifinals matchup against District 3 Champion Exeter Township, which will be played on Friday at Bald Eagle Area High School.

Belle Vernon Area denied football championship by Aliquippa

Top-seeded Belle Vernon Area was held scoreless until the fourth quarter in the WPIAL Class 4A Championship at Heinz Field on Saturday, as No. 2 seed Aliquippa used a dominant defensive performance to prevail 28-13. With the victory, the Quips (11-1) claimed their 18th WPIAL crown, the most in district history. Conversely, the Leopards (10-1) suffered their only loss of the season, and were denied their second WPIAL title. The Quips took the opening kickoff and marched 63 yards on eight plays, capped off by a 1-yard TD run by freshman running back Tiqwai Hayes. Aliquippa posted another impressive drive on its third possession, culminating with a 13-yard surge by Hayes to extend the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Leopards standout Quinton Martin provided a 75-yard return, but the Leopards were unable to reach the end zone, and Tyler Kovatch’s 22-yard field goal attempt missed. Aliquippa took a 21-0 advantage to halftime, courtesy of a Hail Mary on the final play of the half, as Donovan Walker snagged the 38-yard pass from Quentin Goode in the end zone. The Leopards continued to sputter offensively in the third quarter, but snapped the shutout in the fourth quarter, as QB Devin Whitlock found pay dirt on a 5-yard run. Aliquippa wasted no time in responding, though, as Cyair Clark returned the subsequent kickoff 85 yards to restore the Quips’ three-score lead. Whitlock later added a 6-yard touchdown run, but the Aliquippa defense also forced a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions to seal the outcome. Whitlock was 5-of-15 passing for 99 yards, while leading BVA with 69 yards rushing on 13 carries. Martin, meanwhile, was limited to just 28 yards rushing, although he led the Leopards with two catches for 55 yards. For Aliquippa, Hayes notched a game-high 133 yards rushing, while Jon Tracy added 91 yards on the ground. Additionally, Goode connected on 5-of-9 passes for 67 yards.

Four county soccer players earn All-State honors

A quartet of Westmoreland County soccer standouts garnered All-State accolades last week. The Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association announced its selections, which included Franklin Regional’s Anthony DiFalco and Sydney Lindeman, Penn-Trafford’s Malia Kearns, and Caleb Yuricha of Norwin. DiFalco netted 30 goals for the Panthers’ boys team, which went 17-5-0 and reached the WPIAL 3A semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals. Lindeman scored 15 goals for the FR girls team, which finished 14-4-1, reaching the WPIAL 3A quarterfinals. Kearns posted 10 markers for the Warriors girls, who went 6-11-0 and reached the WPIAL 4A playoffs. Yuricha scored 28 goals for the Norwin boys squad, which finished 14-2-1, including making the WPIAL 4A postseason.

Norwin hockey earns three-point week

Courtesy of a win and an overtime loss last week, Norwin hockey gained three points and sits in first place in the PIHL Class A Southeast Division. The Knights notched a 4-0 road victory against Plum on Monday, but fell to Chartiers Valley 7-6 in overtime the following night. Against the Mustangs, Dom Cerilli and Jake Meier each contributed a goal and an assist, while Ty Shigo and Mario Cavallaro also lit the lamp. In net, Owen Burmeister made 19 saves to record the shutout. Playing at home against the Colts, Norwin received a three-point effort from Shigo (one goal, two assists), while Cade Zeravica scored twice. Additionally, Logan Fear, Dom Barca, Robbie Chappell, and Meier provided multi-point efforts, while Burmeister made 39 saves. With a record of 6-1-1, the Knights have 13 points, two ahead of second-place Kiski Area in the division.

Klimchock notches first win at UPG

University of Pitt – Greensburg men’s basketball head coach Chris Klimchock recorded his first win last Tuesday, as the Bobcats defeated Bethany 83-70. UPG, which outscored Bethany 38-22 in the opening half, was led by Jojo France, who scored a game-high 34 points. Matt Johnson, Lucas Swartz, and Reggie Priah also reached double figures in scoring for the Bobcats, who dropped their first five tilts. Meanwhile, Bethany received 14 points from Asa Klimchock, who is a cousin of Chris. Chris Klimchock, who was hired in the offseason, enjoyed a stellar playing career at Greensburg Salem and collegiately at Saint Vincent College.

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