Woodland Hills beats Bethel Park, avoids 0-3 start
Just the thought of a third consecutive loss was all the motivation Woodland Hills’ Harry Randall needed.
“After two losses, we all came into this game with fear on our hearts,” said Randall, who rushed for four touchdowns and added a key interception in the final minutes of Friday night’s 38-23 victory over Quad Central host Bethel Park.
The senior had touchdown runs of 28, 5, 7 and 7 yards.
The Wolverines, who had lost to two ranked opponents, were facing their first 0-3 start since 2007, a season they finished 3-7. In contrast, they were 0-2 to start 2010 but won Week 3 and eventually reached the WPIAL title game. So, this one victory over a quality opponent has lifted their spirits.
No. 7 Woodland Hills (1-2, 1-1) was considered a preseason contender for both the WPIAL and state title.
“We’ve still got work to do,” Randall said. “One-and-two isn’t good, but now we’re ready to fight.”
With Bethel Park driving for a potential tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Randall intercepted a pass with 2:12 left. At the time, Woodland Hills lead was only eight points. But Randall added another touchdown with nine seconds left.
“You can’t simulate him (in practice),” Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny said. “We don’t have anybody like him and they’ve got two or three other guys just like him.”
Woodland Hills sophomore Miles Sanders rushed for 170 yards on 20 carries, including a 79-yard touchdown.
This was the first loss for No. 5 Bethel Park (2-1, 2-1), bit it shouldn’t tarnish its reputation. The Black Hawks never led, but were tied, 17-17, in the third quarter after a 46-yard field goal by Danny Christenson.
The Black Hawks needed an answer for Randall and they also needed more offense. With just 25 yards on 12 carries, junior Alex Minton led them in rushing.
Quarterback Levi Metheny completed 10 of 19 passes for 71 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown to Danny Emma in the third quarter. When the extra-point kick missed, Bethel Park trailed, 24-23, at 1:32 of the third.
Randall scored his third touchdown with 4:09 left in the fourth, a 7-yarder to lead 31-23.
“We made some mistakes and it cost us,” Jeff Metheny said, “but the biggest thing was we just didn’t tackle as well as we should have.”
Runs by Sanders and Randall helped Woodland Hills build a 17-14 halftime lead.
Woodland Hills’ first possession started slowly but finished with a flash. After losing 9 yards in two plays with two fumbles and a 5-yard penalty included, Sanders ran 79 yards on third-and-long for a touchdown. With 9:41 left in the first quarter, the Wolverines already led, 7-0.