SOMERSET – Bedford controlled the line of scrimmage, limited mistakes and held in check an explosive Westinghouse team in a 26-0 win in the District 5-8-9 Class AAA subregional championship game at Somerset High School.
The Bisons rushed the ball 56 times for 237 yards as a team, as they were able to make plays throughout the night against a tough Westinghouse defense led by Pitt recruit Dayon Hayes.
After getting a stop on the Bulldogs initial drive, the Bisons offense got to work with a 15-play, 67-yard drive capped off by a 4-yard scamper by Bisons quarterback Mercury Swaim.
Lizzy Martz booted the extra point to give the District 5 rep an early 7-0 lead.
The Bisons quickly got the ball back, but lost the ball on a fumble and Westinghouse looked poised to run with the Bisons in the early going. After some big runs by quarterback Troy Lanier and running back Michael Massey, the Bulldogs were deep in Bedford territory but a fumble at the 1-yard line thwarted the drive.
“We turned the ball over some and they did too, but we were able to capitalize in different points in the game with some big plays while they weren’t, and that was the big difference,” Bedford coach Kevin Steele said as his team improved to 10-2 on the season.
“The big plays and us controlling the line of scrimmage, running the ball a little bit more than they did as well.”
Westinghouse again stopped Bedford and looked poised for another lengthy drive, but Bedford’s Steven Ressler intercepted a Lanier pass near midfield. An Elijah Cook 25-yard run set up a touchdown pass from Mercury Swaim to Miles Washington for a 28-yard score just before the half.
Bedford was not done, however.
Another costly fumble by Westinghouse gave the Bisons the ball with a little over a minute left in the half, and Swaim was able to march his team down the field for his second scoring run to make it 20-0 at halftime.
“It feels great,” Swaim said. “We played very well as a team, we played on all cylinders. There was some mistakes we made we can improve on, but a win is a win and that was a good opponent we played. We just came out and competed, and it feels good.”
Swaim finished the day with three touchdowns and was also 6 of 10 passing for 136 yards with a touchdown on the night.
Bedford engineered a lengthy drive to start the second half that took nearly six minutes off the clock. Swaim’s third touchdown of the day capped off the drive and made the score 26-0.
Westinghouse had trouble getting anything going throughout the night.
The Bulldogs had the ability to move the ball, but any success they found was negated by the 15 penalties they committed throughout the game.
Bedford will now await the winner of the Westmont Hilltop and Bald Eagle Area game that will be played Saturday at Altoona’s Mansion Park.
Bedford junior running back Steven Ressler finished the day with 74 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards and also hauled in an interception on defense as well as he came up with big play after big play throughout the night.
“It feels great,” he said. “I just want to keep playing football, playoffs are the best time of the year and I’m just ready for next week.”