Gorman: Central Valley’s Powell pulls ‘perfect play’
Everyone at Heinz Field was expecting the ball to go to Jordan Whitehead.
B.J. Powell knew better.
Central Valley coach Mark Lyons has such confidence in Powell that he used his star as a decoy in the last minute of the WPIAL Class AAA final.
While Whitehead went in motion, Powell ran a post-corner route. John George pump-faked, then tossed a 23-yarder to a wide-open Powell with 19 seconds left to clinch a 28-21 win over West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA championship.
“It was the perfect play for the perfect situation,” Powell said. “When you’re called on, you have to make the play. Once I heard the fans roaring, it was the greatest feeling I’d ever had.”
Lyons described the 6-foot-3 senior’s pulse as a “flat line,” one that’s ice-cold in the clutch.
“He doesn’t waver,” Lyons said. “You couldn’t tell if he dropped one or had the winning touchdown. We can turn around and toss it to Jordan 40 times, but in a game like this you’ve got to have other players involved.”
Powell has 38 receptions for 724 yards and nine touchdowns, providing a passing threat that prevents defenses from selling out to stop Whitehead.
“It’s hard to guard us,” said George, Central Valley’s quarterback said. “We have all these playmakers, especially with the best player in the state.”
That Whitehead isn’t Central Valley’s only offensive threat is why the Warriors ended West Allegheny’s two-year reign as WPIAL champs and why they have a chance to become the first WPIAL Class AAA team to advance to a PIAA final since Thomas Jefferson in 2008.
And if Central Valley needs a big play along the way, Powell has proven to be the perfect pick.