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BETHEL PARK, Pa. — Peters Township defeated Bethel Park, 30-7 in a key 5A Allegheny Eight Conference matchup ripe with playoff and conference-championship implications.
The teams entered the game in a three-way tie with Moon at the top of the conference with 4-1 records.
Tiebreakers can still come in to play, but the win for Peters Township (8-1, 5-1) puts the Indians in a good position to claim a home playoff game in the Class-5A playoffs.
The Indians’ special teams was the difference, setting up the team’s first three touchdowns in the opening half.
Donovan McMillon blocked a punt midway through the first quarter and set up Peters Township with a short field. Bethel Park looked as though they wanted to attempt a fake punt, Austin Cortopassi held it, held it and finally kicked it right into McMillon’s chest.
The Indians cashed in two plays later when Ryan Magiske found the end zone for the first of his two touchdowns.
The return team struck again when Josh Casilli returned a punt 40 yards, giving the Indians the ball at the 37-yard line. Peters scored three plays later when quarterback Logan Pfeuffer found Magiske on a 19-yard screen pass, and the Indians were up 14-0.
Bethel Park (5-3, 4-2) finally found some footing on the next drive, hooking up on passing plays of 28 and 19 yards. The run-heavy Black Hawks passing attack, coupled with a targeting call inside the five-yard line, allowed quarterback Anthony Chiccitt to score from one yard out.
The drive was vintage Bethel Park, taking eight plays, covering 55 yards in 2:45.
All the momentum gained was lost on the ensuing kickoff when Casilli scampered 90 yards down the far sideline for a score. The Black Hawks attempted a directional kick to take away half the field, but picked the wrong side and Casilli made them pay.
Penalties and sloppy play marred down the first half that just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm for the TV, radio and senior-night crowd at Bethel Park Stadium.
The Black Hawks punted on five of their seven drives – one was the touchdown and the other was the end of the half.
The third quarter started off even worse for Bethel Park who had a long kickoff return nullified by a block in the back. The Black Hawks started on the 10-yard line, before a false start made it first-and-15 from the five.
On the next play, a holding call in the end zone by Cortopassi resulted in a safety, and the Indians led 23-7.
Peters took the free kick to the 37 yard line and scored seven plays later when Casilli scored out of the wildcat from three yards out.
Bethel Park’s five possessions in the second half resulted in a safety, punt, interception, punt, punt.
Magiske paced the Peters Township offense with 114 yards on 18 carries and the touchdown while Casilli chipped in 30 yards on five rushes and the touchdown.
Pfeuffer finished the night 5-9 for 72 yards and the touchdown on the screen pass to Magiske.
Chiccitt finished the night 6-17 for 60 yards and an interception in the fourth quarter while Sean McGowan led the Black Hawks with 31 yards on 15 rushes.