The Bethel Park football team may be weary after five weeks of non conference clashes.
But the Black Hawks are ready to host West Allegheny at 7 p.m. Oct. 1. for their Allegheny Six Conference opener.
“Absolutely, we feel prepared,” said BP head coach Brian DeLallo. “We opened with three 6A schools and Gateway.
“It makes for a rough stretch of games, but we feel our league is the best 5A league in the state, and that you must play a challenging non-conference schedule to get ready for conference play.”
Before its final non-conference clash Sept. 25 against Franklin Regional, the Black Hawks had a 1-3 record.
In their most recent 49-13 loss to the Gators, Bethel Park’s Ryan Petras excelled. He caught a 35-yard scoring strike from Max Blanc and returned a kickoff 88 yards for BP’s other touchdown.
DeLallo expects the Indians to be ready for BP’s passing attack.
“They’ll blitz getting off the bus, so we had better be ready,” he said. “Offensively, we must be able to handle their blitz package and have to eliminate turnovers. Ball security has been an issue for us. We must improve in that department.”
Last year, the Black Hawks dropped a 17-7 decision to the Indians. It was one of the team’s seven defeats.
The Indians won eight WPIAL titles under Bob Palko, who now coaches at Mt. Lebanon. After finishing with a 3-4 record a year ago, West Allegheny won three games to start the 2021 campaign.
“They’re a great program with amazing tradition,” DeLallo said. “They took it to us last year and were very physical. They’ll have tough, well-coached kids.
“To beat them, we have to take care of the football and handle their blitz package, when we have the ball,” he continued. “On defense, we need to be solid, not necessarily spectacular and make a big play on special teams.”
The Black Hawks are also excited about the conference opener because it is a chance to honor Western Pennsylvania Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones serving the nation. Sgt. Russell Kurtz, who played at Bethel Park, is one of the honorees.
“So, it’s going to be a special night for us,” DeLallo said.