Bearcats get rematch
GREEN TREE – Of the four area high school football coaches who attended Monday’s WPIAL playoff pairings meeting at the Radisson Hotel, only one returned home surprised.
He was Bentworth’s Ron Skiles.
Skiles had good reason
The Bearcats (5-4) will be playing their first post-season game since 1998 at Tri-County South Conference champion Mapletown (8-1) Friday.
It was Bentworth which handed the Maples their only loss of the season in the opening game.
The Bearcats pulled out a thrilling 28-27 victory at home when quarterback Travis Harff went over from one yard out with 30 seconds following Lincoln Gibson’s 75-yard kick return to the Mapletown one with Nick Workmaster kicking the decisive extra point.
The Maples had gone ahead 27-21 with only 48 seconds left on Jon Caldwell’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Geisel.
“I thought we’d get Duquesne,” said Skiles, whose Bearcats finished tied for third with Chartiers-Houston in the Black Hills Conference.
Despite owning a victory over the Maples, Skiles admits the Bearcats will be in the underdog role for the rematch.
“We were lucky to win, ” he said. “Mapletown has a very good football team. They have a real good offensive line and a great runner in Ryan Geisel.”
Geisel, the leading rusher and scorer in WPIAL’s Class A with over 1,300 yards and 142 points, had 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss to the Bearcats.
While Mapletown is riding an eight-game winning streak, Bentworth closed with lopsided defeats to the Black Hills’ top two teams – Canevin (41-20) and Beth-Center (41-0).
“We slid way back on defense after our win over Charleroi,” added Skiles.
Meanwhile, Keystone Conference champion Yough (8-1) and Tri-County South Conference runnerup California (6-3) didn’t get much respect as home teams with eighth seeds in Class AAA and A,
Yough drew perennial power Blackhawk (5-4) from the rugged Parkway Conference with California landing Western Beaver (7-2), the third place team from th Big Seven Conference.
“I thought we’d get Blackhawk or Chartiers Valley,” said Wehner, whose club closed with seven straight victories.
“We finished strong,” he added. “We did our job in the Keystone and have to keep it going.”
Blackhawk posted a 48-34 win at New Castle, a week after the Cougars suffered a 13-6 defeat on the same field.
The Trojans are facing the Golden Beavers in the post-season for the second time in three years.
In 2003, California was a 35-13 loser at Western Beaver.
“This time they’re going to have to make the hour and half trip,” said California coach Joe Kuhns. “That should make a difference and we’re a better team this year.”
The Golden Beavers started out 6-0 before getting blanked at top-seed Rochester (34-0) and sixth-seed South Side Beaver (19-0) in two of their last three games.
“I was expecting Riverview or Western Beaver,” admitted Kuhns.
Elizabeth Forward (4-5), which made the playoffs with a last-minute win at Ringgold, goes to Parkway co-champ West Allegheny (8-1), the third seed.
“I figured either West Allegheny or Hampton,” said Elizabeth coach Pete Rostosky.
LEFTOVERS: Besides Rochester, the other top seeds are Central Catholic (AAAA), West Mifflin (AAA) and South Park (AA). The Tri-County South’s Jefferson-Morgan and Carmichaels were the last two seeds in Class A. The Keystone’s highest seed after Yough was Mt. Pleasant at tenth.