WHVL Game of the Week: Bethel Park at Altoona
Written by: Billy Splain on Thursday, October 19th, 2017
Friday night at Altoona’s Mansion Park, The Bethel Park Hawks will arrive soar in from their long trip to play football. But don’t expect those wings to be tired from the journey. This is a seasoned team was was oh so close last year. The Hawks were 5-5 last year, but a few extra points would have got them three more wins and had they got just 4 more in their last game, they’d have taken down Pine-Richland in the WPIAL quarterfinal round. This year, they ARE scoring those extra points. Jeff Methany’s 6-1 squad comes to Mansion park with only one blemish, a 54-20 spanking to that same Ram team.
The Hawks are averaging a very healthy 34 points per game. Leading the way is not someone who gets into the endzone or makes a great catch, no, for the Hawks its WV commit James Gmiter and Gavin Vargesko. At 6-4, 314 pounds and 6-1, 265 pounds these two plow holes big enough for a tugboat to get through untouched. They don’t have any tugboats, but they do have Speedy John Dolneo and Tanner Volpetti, the bigger, stronger back. Both running backs have over 600 yards rushing as well as combining for nearly 300 yards receiving. Quarterback Anthony Chiccitt has thrown for over 600 yards. But make no mistake, the Altoona defense will have to stop the run. The Hawks average 273 yards per contest.
Defensively, again it’s Gmiter and Vargesko on the line that will be a force. Jehvonn Lewis and Doleno have 2 interceptions each and the Hawks as a teams have 6 picks. DB Tiger Burkes is also one to watch. Bethel Park’s defense is a stingy one, giving up an average of 13.3 ppg if you take away the 54 points Pine-Richland scored. They’ll have to play well to slow down a very good as of late Altoona passing game led by Mt. Lion QB Braeden Burchfield.
The 2-6 Mt. Lions have struggled at times, but they’ve also looked great at times. Coach Nick Felus has the tools to make this a game. Burchfield threw for 471 yards and accounted for 6 scores just two weeks ago against Hempfield. For the year he’s 136/240for 15 tds and over 1,700 yards. His targets are Cam Fasick, Tyler Wagner and Tyler Petucci. Petucci and Fasick are over 500 yards on the season and Wagner has over 400 yards in receiving and have combined for 13 of Burchfield’s tds. The Mt. Lions will have to find a way to get their running game going. Burchfield is a threat to run the ball, toting the rock for 241 yards and 2 tds. Petucci can also run out of the backfield. Javion Queen is the leader on the line and will need teammates Gaige Hill, Jake Hunter and Alec Mosher to help step up the protection for the Lions.
Defensively they have a tough task in stopping the Bethel Park rushing attack. Petucci is a good player at the linebacker spot and will have to play position ball. Connor Adams at CB and Mitchell Lawhead are good at protecting the pass, but it’s Queen and Hill who will have to stuff the ball at the line, forcing BP to the edges where they can depend on the speed of Burchfield, Petucci and company to contain the speedy Hawks rushing attack.
What: WHVL Game of the Week
Where: Altoona’s Mansion Park
When: Friday, October 20, 7 pm
Watch: Streaming live on http://www.whvl.com/gow
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