McDONALD — Not too long ago, South Fayette’s football team scored points about as well as any school in Pennsylvania.
Between 2013 and 2015, the Lions won 44 straight games en route to two state championships, all the while putting on a show every Friday night.
In three years, South Fayette scored less than 30 points only four times.
During Friday night’s game against Bethel Park, the not-too-distant past felt prehistoric.
Bethel Park shut out the Lions in the first half, and the second half was only marginally better for South Fayette. A lightning delay that kicked in with 5:25 to play in regulation ended a disappointing evening for the home team, and the Black Hawks left with a convincing 27-7 win.
“I haven’t had a chance to watch the film,” Lions coach Joe Rossi said. “It’s a good football team that we played, and a combination of maybe some things we did as coaches and some of the execution. It’s always going to come down to that. You have to execute.”
Bethel (2-0, 4-3) made a statement early with a 12-play scoring drive. Troy Volpatti’s sixth and final carry of the possession was a 6-yard touchdown run, the first of three on the night for the senior.
After Bethel’s next two possessions ended in punts, the Black Hawks added on midway through the second quarter with a short 1:46 drive. A 43-yard pass from quarterback Max Blanc to tight end Joe Thimons put Bethel Park at South Fayette’s (0-2, 4-3) 5-yard line. Blanc – who went 11-18 passing with 131 yards – put a bow on the drive with a 1-yard sneak. It stayed 14-0 into halftime.
About midway through the third quarter, Bethel broke the Lions’ back on Volpatti’s 80-yard touchdown run that put the Hawks ahead by three scores and firmly in command of the October night. He finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries. Running behind a banged-up offensive line, Volpatti, Bethel Park’s horse on the ground, was American Pharoah.
“Troy’s explosive,” Bethel coach Brian DeLallo said. “He’ll go one yard, no yards, -1 yards, then he’ll rip a 60-yarder off. He’s that kind of back, and he can go the distance from anywhere on the field.”
South Fayette’s only touchdown – a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Landon Lutz – gave the Lions something to cheer about but proved to be dust in the wind.
Lutz went 18 of 30 for 149 passing yards.
Volpatti’s third touchdown of the night was the cherry on top of a Black and Orange sundae. Before kicker Cody Geddes could attempt the extra point, the lightning came and play never resumed.
Despite the abrupt end, it was a good night to be a Black Hawk.
“Anytime you beat a program like South Fayette, it’s a big win,” DeLallo said. “We have so much respect for Joe and their coaching staff and their kids. Everything sort of went our way tonight.”
Bethel Park will look to keep it rolling next Friday. The Black Hawks are back at home against Peters Township. South Fayette hopes to bounce back at West Allegheny. Both games kickoff at 7 p.m..
“We had some opportunities,” Rossi said. “But overall, they tackled well. They did a nice job. It is what it is.”