Move to Class 4A doesn’t change Beaver’s playoff aspirations
During Jeff Beltz’s 18-year tenure at Beaver, playoffs have, for the most part, been the norm.
Beaver has made the postseason 11 of the last 12 seasons and despite moving up to the Class 4A ranks, the goal for the Bobcats hasn’t changed.
“Our goal is to be a playoff football team,” Beltz said. “As the year goes on, the team looks different from beginning to end, and we want to compete for a playoff spot.”
Over the last few years, Beaver was in Class 3A, playing the likes of Aliquippa (2015 WPIAL champion and runner-up in 2016-17), Beaver Falls (2016 WPIAL champion), Quaker Valley (2017 WPIAL champion) and Central Valley (2014 WPIAL champion).
The main difference for Beaver is the change in the playoff format. In Class 3A, there are three conferences and the top two teams from each conference make the playoffs, along with two wild card teams. In Class 4A, the top four from each of the two conferences make it. However, that isn’t the change Beltz notices between the two classes.
“The main difference is roster size,” Beltz said. “The bigger roster sizes creates depth for the teams, and you don’t really notice it on the surface, but rather as the toll as the season goes on.”
Beaver will rely on senior quarterback Brodie List to lead its spread offense, along with running back Gino Mavero and a host of receivers.
“Brodie has the experience, and having it at that position (quarterback) is a key to success,” Beltz said. “We hope as the year goes on his leadership qualities continue to grow. As for Gino, he will be instrumental in the process of the offense, but we have a couple receivers who are going to make an impact, and the depth of our receivers is going to be critical toward our success.”
Not only does the offense bring back tons of depth with its 4-3/4-4 scheme, but the defense does as well, especially in the second level. Beltz cited linebackers Noah Yates, Charlie Zorich and List as playmakers behind the defensive line.
Beaver opens the season against Brashear from the City League and immediately jumps into conference play with a test on the road against South Fayette.
Despite the early-season clash, Beltz isn’t worried about focusing on just one opponent.
“It’s going to be a great test early on,” he said, “but the focus of this team is on us, and that’s how we have to be focused all season.”
Coach: Jeff Beltz
2017 record: 9-3, 4-2
All-time record: 640-395-55
Date, Opponent, Time
8.24, Brashear, 7:30 p.m.
8.31, at South Fayette*, 7 p.m.
9.7, Knoch*, 7:30 p.m.
9.14, New Castle*, 7:30 p.m.
9.21, at Highlands*, 7 p.m.
9.29, Ringgold, 7:30 p.m.
10.5, at Ambridge*, 7 p.m.
10.12, at Quaker Valley, 7 p.m.
10.19, Montour*, 7:30 p.m.
10.26, at Blackhawk*, 7 p.m.
*Class 4A Northwest 8 Conference game
Passing: Brodie List
61-113, 1,161 yards, 8 TDs
Rushing: Gino Mavero
118-677 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving: Tyler Wallace*
23-506 yards, 13 TDs