Strong start paces Zephs over BC
Whitehall football coach Matt Senneca had so much anticipation for the Zephyrs’ football game against Bethlehem Catholic on Saturday, he woke up at 3:45 a.m. and couldn’t fall back to sleep.
“It was just a really good feeling I had for some reason. I just thought our kids were gonna’ come out and compete today,” Coach Senneca said. “We’ve been preaching all week about a fast start, and that’s exactly what we did. Creating two turnovers early and capitalizing on them was huge.”
The Zephyrs scored three touchdowns, two after fumbles by the Golden Hawks, within three minutes and coasted to a 49-14 victory over Becahi at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.
“We wanted to stress execution this week, and I don’t know- from what we practice to what happens on the field- the two fumbles absolutely put us in a hole,” said Becahi coach Kyle Haas. “That happens in a football game, but you have to respond, and when we got down 27-7, and then it was 34-7, I felt like we started to give up, and that bothered me.”
Damonte Foreman, Nigel Linton, and Quinn Wentling scored the first three of seven touchdowns for the Zephyrs.
“My team made sure that hole was wide open, I just needed a little patience, made the cut and right there, touchdown,” said Linton, who racked up 82 yards on 10 carries and a pair of touchdowns on Saturday. “My line set it up for me, and I wouldn’t have gotten that touchdown without them. They opened the hole, and I just made it happen.”
Whitehall scored again on a Wentling pass to Bryce Bashore, and Becahi put its first points on the scoreboard with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter when quarterback Jared Richardson ran for 55 yards on a fourth-and-one.
Foreman opened the second quarter with his second touchdown of the day, this time plunging in from the 2-yard line after being left wide open to catch a pass at the 17 three plays earlier.
“Having that combination between him and Nigel is almost like a thunder-lightning type thing,” said Senneca. “Damonte is going to make our defense go. He’s the one who’ll put pressure on the quarterback and fly around the field, and offensively he runs just as hard.”
Wentling, who passed for 172 yards, went in for a two-point conversion after Linton’s second touchdown of the day after the Zephyrs recovered a pop-up kickoff.
“It was pretty much a formation we’d been working on just for this game, and we showed them that our quarterback can run, and we showed them we came to play,” Linton said.
Shortly before halftime, Wentling spun out of two defenders and sprinted to the end zone for Whitehall’s seventh touchdown.
“We didn’t have an answer for the RPO stuff and it’s what they do really well,” said Coach Haas. “They’re not the biggest guys, but they come out, and they play physical and fast, and we need to start doing that and earn that respect back.”
Haas had some questions for his Hawks at halftime.
“You have to ask them, is this really who you are? And if this is who you are, maybe we need to work harder,” Haas said. “Right now, we’re not a very good football team. I told the kids, we’re gonna’ find the 11 that do what the coaches want them to do, and we’ll win and lose with them. Guys are going to have to figure out that football is a team game.”
The second half was played with the mercy rule in effect, and the Hawks’ Zyaire Morris ran into the end zone from the 1-yard line with 11:00 remaining in the fourth quarter for the final touchdown of the game.
Coach Senneca had some complimentary words for his quarterback.
“It’s different having a kid like that behind the center. The kid doesn’t get fazed, he doesn’t get rattled, his demeanor never changes. You can cheap-shot him, hit him, do all this stuff to him, but he’s so even keel, and to have a guy like that running your offense and the decisions he makes, and you put the athlete on top of it, it’s really nice to have,” he said.