Mike White | 11:40 p.m., Friday, Nov. 28
There has never been a football season like this at Bethel Park - and the folks in the community are filling up the spots on the Black Hawks' bandwagon.
Last week, Bethel Park won it first WPIAL football championship in school history. Tonight, the Black Hawks won their first PIAA game with a 17-14 victory against State College.
"I've heard from people I don't even know," Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny said after the game. "The community is really getting behind this thing."
After beating Gateway in the WPIAL final last Saturday, a few firetrucks and a few police cars met the team buses at the Galleria store on Route19. They escorted the team back to Bethel Park High School.
Bethel Park sold 3,200 tickets presale for the WPIAL final, by far the most of any school. For tonight's game, Bethel Park had to have at least 2,500 fans on its side of the stadium.
End of the domination?
Bethel Park is good enough to win a PIAA title, but don't expect the Black Hawks to dominate like WPIAL teams have done in Class AAAA in recent years.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't a knock against Bethel Park. The Black Hawks are impressive defensively and efficient enough offensively to win the state. But they probably won't dominate like Central Catholic, Upper St. Clair or McKeesport has in recent years. A WPIAL team has won the PIAA Class AAAA title four years in a row by a combined score of 166-37.
"Props" for Metheny
I've always thought Metheny was very underrated as a coach. Just because he didn't win a title before this year didn't mean he wasn't as good as some of the best in the business. If you had to pick a coach of the year right now, Metheny has to be the No. 1 choice.
Bell for Butkus
The Butkus Award is given annually to the top linebacker in the country. This year, there will also be a Butkus Award winner on the high school level - and Gateway High's Dorian Bell is one of the 12 national finalists.