SOMERSET — Taking advantage of what the other team gives you is one of the keys to winning almost every game.
Bedford did exactly that by causing Westinghouse to turn the ball over four times and using 15 Bulldog penalties for 146 yards to roll to a 26-0 victory in the District 5/8/9-AAA Subregional Championship, Friday night.
It was the second straight subregional championship for the Bisons, who beat the Bulldogs by 47-16 score in last year’s title game.
Bedford used the Bulldogs miscues to take control of the game just minutes before halftime.
The Bisons led, 7-0, midway through the second quarter, and Westinghouse had a drive that was deep in Bedford territory. On first and goal from the Bedford 3, the Bulldogs fumbled the ball on the handoff with Bedford recovering on the 1.
The Bisons drove down the field with the big play being a 62-yard pass from Mercury Swaim to Steven Ressler to put the ball on the Bulldog 32, but the drive stalled as Bedford turned the ball over on downs.
Westinghouse drive to seize the momentum and go for a long pass, but Ressler used outstanding positioning and came down with an interception to get the ball back to the Bisons.
This time, Bedford cashed in on the turnover. After Ressler ran for 10 yards, Elijah Cook broke loose for a 32-yard gain to the Westinghouse 28. Swaim dropped back to pass and found Miles Washington wide open for a touchdown. Lizzy Martz connected on the PAT kick for a14-0 lead with 1:30 left in the half.
The Bisons were not done as the Bulldogs fumbled on their second play of their next possession with Jesse Arnold coming up with the loose ball at the Westinghouse 44.
After a pass interference call against Westinghouse, Swaim ran a keeper for a eight yards, Ressler caught a pass for four yards before running the ball down the 1-yard line. Swaim ran a quarterback sneak for the score with 25 seconds left in the half. The PAT kick was blocked, but Bedford had a 20-0 lead at the half.
The Bisons got the ball to start the second half. They had some good fortunate as a Cook fumble bounced up into the hands of teammate Boyd Becker, and the offensive lineman ran the ball 13 yards for a first down into Westinghouse territory.
Bedford methodically moved the ball down the field in small chucks using running plays by Cook, Swaim, Ressler and Washington to set the ball at six-yard line with a first down. The Bisons ran the option with Swaim keeping the ball the touchdown. The Bisons went for two, but Cook was stopped short of the end zone for a 26-0 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
“It was huge,” said Bedford coach Kevin Steele of the scores just before the half. “That allowed us to take control of the game, and then to come out and control the clock with a score to start the second half was big.
“Turnovers were important. We were able to capitalize on the turnovers, while we kept them from capitalizing on our turnover.”
Westinghouse put together a drive that went from the 42 to the Bedford 14. However, a run for a first down was called back for holding, and the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs.
Bedford retaliated with a drive of its own, but the drive stalled inside the five as Swaim was sacked by Khalil Jeter on fourth down.
Westinghouse did not complete a pass in the first half, but the Bulldogs had some passes to get the ball close midfield. Quarterback Troy Lanier hit Joiran King for 18 yards and Cameron Jones for 13 to get it to the 49-yard line.
Lanier dropped back to pass again, and he was under heavy pressure from the Bedford line. He escaped two potential tackles, and while running toward the sideline, he found Timoth Jones wide open down the field for an apparent touchdown.
However, a referee blew his whistle as Lanier was close to the sideline for an inadvertent whistle and redo of the play. One of the Westinghouse players was unhappy with the whistle being blown and earned another penalty. Another holding penalty put Westinghouse at the 15-yard line with first and 44.
Two plays later, a Lanier pass was tipped by Bison defensive lineman and the ball ended up in the hands of Trenton Price for an interception as Bedford went on for the 26-0 win.
The highly-touted line of Westinghouse, which included Pitt recruit Dayon Hayes, was equaled by the Bison line. Bedford outrushed Westinghouse, 242-214, and outgained the Bulldogs, 371-296.
“Defensively, we played pretty well,” Steele said. “We didn’t give up many big plays, and to shut out a good team like that is great.
“We made some big plays on offense both with the run and the pass. We were able to use the play-action pass well tonight.”
Westinghouse got the ball to start the game, and the Bulldogs moved from their own 35 to Bedford’s 19 using six running plays 46 yards. However, a illegal procedure call on a second and five made it second and long. After an incomplete pass, Lanier was sacked by Arnold for a nine-yard loss before an incompletion ended the drive.
Bedford took over at its own 33, and patiently drove the ball down the field. The Bisons converted two third downs and a fourth down, and Deran Miller recovered a Washington fumble to keep the drive alive. Swaim scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns, this one from four yards out with 1:48 left to go in the first quarter. Martz kicked the PAT for the 7-0 lead.
Westinghouse punted on its next possession as the Bulldogs committed two penalties, and that was the only punt of the game for either team.
Bedford had a drive back into Westinghouse territory, but Swaim fumbled the ball on a keeper. It was recovered by Sayvon Knight, who looked like he might have a long return, but he was tackled at the 19. That set up the first of three straight possessions that ended in a turnover for the Bulldogs.
GAME NOTES: Bedford will play the winner of the District 6-AAA championship game that is being played on Saturday between Bald Eagle Area and Westmont Hilltop. Bedford lost to Bald Eagle Area in the first round of the PIAA playoffs last year, while the Bisons beat Westmont in the first week of the season the last two years. … Swaim was 5-7 throwing the ball for a 129 yards. One of those completions was a sideline pattern by Greg Edwards, who got both feet in bounds for an 11-yard gain. … Bedford committed only one penalty, but on that play, Westinghouse got called for a dead-ball penalty for personal foul and the ejection of a Bulldog player. … Cook and Ressler each had 81 yards rushing for the Bisons, while Michael Massey 118 yards rushing for the Bulldogs.
District 5/8/9 – AAA Subregional Championship No. 1 BEDFORD 26, No. 2 WESTINGHOUSE 0
Westinghouse 0 0 0 0 — 0
Bedford 7 13 6 0 — 26
B – Mercury Swaim 4-yard run (Lizzy Martz kick), 1:48 of the 1st. B – Miles Washington 28-yard pass from Swaim (Martz kick), 1:30 of the 2nd. B – Swaim 1-yard run (kick blocked), 0:25 of the 2nd. B – Swaim 6-yard run (run failed), 6:01 of the 3rd.
Team Statistics W B
First Downs 13 21
Yards Rushing 214 242
Yards Passing 82 129
Pass Record 5-12 5-7
Intercepted By 0 2
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-1
Penalties-Yards 15-146 1-13
Punts-Ave. 1-25 0-0
Individual Statistics Rushing
W – Michael Massey 14-118; Malik Harris 9-47; Troy Lanier 9-37; Cameron Jones 2-11; Tarick Hamilton 1-1. B – Elijah Cook 19-81; Steven Ressler 11-81; Mercury Swaim 16-31; Mile Washington 9-30; Boyd Becker 1-13; Trenton Price 1-6.
W – Lanier 5-12-82-2 B – Swaim 5-7-129-0
W – Joiran King 2-41; Jones 2-37; Massey 1-4. B – Ressler 2-66; Washington 2-52; Greg Edwards 1-11.
B – Ressler, Price.