Beaver Falls dumps Elizabeth Forward and sets up rematch with Aliquippa
Beaver Falls knew it was going to have to run the football and stop the pass if it was going to beat Elizabeth Forward in the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs.
Beaver Falls did both in a 33-14 win over the Warriors (8-2) on Friday night. The Tigers (9-2) advanced to the WPIAL semifinals for the second time in the last three seasons.
Beaver Falls will get a second shot to take on their rival, top-seeded Aliquippa. The Quips won the first matchup 37-0.
“Our offensive line deserves all of the credit tonight,” Beaver Falls coach Nick Nardone said. “They owned the line of scrimmage. As the game went on, we began to realize that (Elizabeth Forward) was not going to let us spread things out, so we decided to go toe-to-toe and run the ball right at them.”
Our entire line, everyone from tight ends, to tackles, guards and the center played their best game of the season.”
The Tigers offensive line allowed the offense to rush for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Leading the charge was quarterback Dayln Brickner, who finished the night with a team-high 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 6 of 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
“He is a warrior and a leader,” Nardone said. “Every challenge he faces he steps up to without hesitation. He was battling through an injury today, but never wanted to come out. He fought through it and made great plays on both sides of the ball.”
Brickner also played a big role in the secondary’s success against the Elizabeth Forward passing attack that was led by three-year starter and all conference quarterback, Zach Benedek.
Coming into Friday night, Nardone had challenged his team to shut down the Warriors receivers, which they did, limiting Benedek to just 48 yards passing and forcing him to throw an interception which was returned 65 yards for a touchdown by Brice Anderson in the first quarter.
While all playoff wins are meaningful, this one was extra special for the Tigers who are just one season removed from going 1-8.
“I am so proud of this team,” Nardone said. “They have so much skill and resiliency. Both were on display tonight. It’s a huge win for these kids. They went through a lot last year, so this victory is very meaningful for all of them.”