Golden Hawks stop Pottsgrove
KINTNERSVILLE >> A few minutes after his Falcons’ season came to an end at the hands of Bethlehem Catholic Friday night, Pottsgrove’s first-year head coach Bill Hawthorne stood on the field at Palisades High School and contemplated the past nine months since he was named head coach.
“What sticks with me,” he said, “are the memories, working with a great group of kids and the support from the community. All those things matter in the end.”
While Friday night’s 5820 loss to the Golden Hawks won’t be among the coach’s fondest memories, he admits it will be just as important as brighter moments like winning Pottsgrove’s third consecutive District 1 title and winning the first state playoff game in school history last week against District 4 champion Jersey Shore.
“Competitively it’s important to compare ourselves to Bethlehem Catholic, and that wasn’t a 58-20 game from that standpoint,” said Hawthorne. “We laid it all on the line, and we weren’t intimidated at all.”
“But I have to give credit to Bethlehem Catholic — that’s a very good football team.”
Tavion Banks had 167 yards on the ground to go along with five scores, while Zamar Brake passed for 253 yards in leading Bethlehem Catholic’s (Beca) prolific offense. Pottsgrove had dropped the state playoff opener to Bethlehem Catholic the past two years in fairly one-sided contests. While the matchup didn’t occur until the quarterfinals this year, and while the first three quarters were fiercely contested between two sides who’ve moved closer in terms of competitiveness, the Golden Hawks (11-3) made it clear that the final outcome would remain in their favor.
The Golden Hawks got the ball and wasted no time in establishing the ground game on a seven-play, 81yard drive that featured 65 rushing yards by Banks, including a 20-yard TD run to make it a 7-0 Beca lead.
The ensuing drive saw the Falcons gain a couple first downs, but disaster struck as a snap flew over the head of punter Michael Sereny who had little choice but to play the ball through the end zone for a safety, widening the Beca lead to 9-0. After a free kick, a 56yard pass by Brake to Nick Lucien set up Banks’ second TD and a 16-0 Beca lead.
After that point, Pottsgrove evened out play for the remainder of the half, as quarterback Jay Sisko kept the Falcons alive with his legs and arm, finding Ryan Bodolus for a sevenyard score to cut the lead to 16-7. Jimai Springfield went 96 yards with a kickoff return after Banks’ third TD to keep the deficit at nine, and just before halftime, a Sereny 27-yard field goal was coupled with Pottsgrove’s first defensive stop. After all the action, the Falcons went to the locker room down only 30-17, and ready to receive the second half kickoff.
Sereny nailed another field goal after the break to cut the lead to 30-20, and the Falcons again stymied the Golden Hawks offense to take over on their own 40 halfway through the third.
But after a three-and-out, Zaheer Seabrooks carried for his second TD to widen Beca’s lead to 37-20. The ensuing Pottsgrove possession ended in a turnover as a couple key injuries began to compromise the Falcons’ offense.
The victorious Golden Hawks would add a few late touchdowns to make the final score somewhat misleading, but make no mistake — they are a complete team, one that will be a formidable foe for any potential opponent over the next week or two.
“We take it one step at a time, and we have all our goals in front of us,” said Brake.
For Pottsgrove (12-2), it was an all-too-familiar conclusion for a program that’s now seen three consecutive District 1 championship season end at the hands of the Golden Hawks. Asked whether the repeated struggles against their District 11 adversaries cause to reconsider or reevaluate the program’s goals, Hawthorne remained steadfast in his commitment.
“What I, and my program, pride ourselves on is the fact that we’re gonna get right back to work—we’re gonna get bigger, faster, and do it the right way. That’s what Pottsgrove football is.”
Bethlehem Catholic moves onto the state semifinals where they’ll attempt to exorcise some demons of their own against District 12’s Imhotep Charter, a team that’s bested the Golden Hawks at this stage the past two seasons. For the Falcons, it’s the end of a season that belongs in any conversation about the school’s all-time best campaigns, but only the beginning for a coach and program focused on maintaining their status as District 1’s dominant Class 4A power.
Bethlehem Catholic’s Zaccheus Brake (11) celebrates with teammates after tackling a Pottsgrove ball carrier during the third quarter of Friday night’s PIAA-4A playoff game.
Pottsgrove’s Isaiah Glover (5), Marlon Glaze (31) and Ryan Bodolus team up to tackle a Bethlehem Catholic rusher.
Pottsgrove’s Jimai Springfield (1) is sandwiched between a pair of Bethlehem Catholic defensive backs on an incomplete pass in the end zone.