MONROEVILLE, Pa. — Belle Vernon and Freeport met for a Class-3A semifinals matchup at Antimarino Stadium on Friday night. The teams are similarly built, both featuring a dominant rushing attack, but Belle Vernon easily handled Freeport by the score of 42-0.
Belle Vernon opened the game with an impressive 8-play touchdown drive that ended with junior quarterback Braden Laux running in a 16-yard touchdown.
Five minutes later the Leopards scored again when five-star standout Quinton Martin took a screen pass 45-yards to the endzone. This extended the Leopards’ lead to 14-0 with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The lead jumped to 21-0 on the first play of the second quarter when Martin took in his second touchdown of the night on a 26-yard rush.
The score remained this way through the rest of the first half. Heading into halftime Martin had over 120 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Belle Vernon as a team had 147 yards of rushing while Freeport had 94 total yards.
In the third quarter, Freeport looked to cash in on a blocked punt that resulted in the Yellowjackets starting on the Leopards’ 34-yard line. This drive was stalled due to a false start on a play that would have gone for a touchdown. The Yellowjackets missed a 48-yard field goal to end the drive. This kept the score at 21-0.
Late in the third quarter, Martin added another highlight play with his interception of Freeport’s quarterback Gavin Croney. The Leopards would then add another touchdown from Jake Gedekoh’s 10-yard touchdown run.
Braden Laux would add another touchdown on the ground late in the fourth quarter to make the score 35-0.
Ultimately, Martin and Belle Vernon’s rushing attack was too much for the Freeport defense. Freeport’s Ben Lane was never able to get anything going on the ground and with the lead being so great the Yellowjackets passed the ball more frequently in the second half.
Belle Vernon will face off against Avonworth in the Class-3A WPIAL Championship at Acrisure Stadium next Friday. The Leopards look to win their first WPIAL Championship since 1995 as they lost their last four appearances since.