Whitehall football falls to Becahi
Whitehall is still looking to string four good quarters of good football together, a blueprint that laid the groundwork for their win against Allentown Central Catholic earlier this season, but something that eluded them again last Friday as they fell to Bethlehem Catholic.
Their 56-21 loss to the visiting Golden Hawks followed much of the same script as their losses to Easton and Emmaus. In the first half against the Hawks, just like their games against the Red Rovers and Green Hornets, they were trading touchdowns with their opponent and were in position to win the game heading into intermission.
And like those prior games, they were connecting on big plays. During Friday’s first half, quarterback Anthony Nanoah hit receiver Allen Negrete for a 51-yard TD, cutting the Hawks lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter. That pair connected for another big touchdown later in the second quarter as Nanoah found Negrete for a 63-yard strike. Those two plays covered 114 yards, and demonstrated their big-play capability once again, something that’s been a constant throughout the season.
Before that score, which trimmed the Hawks’ lead to 28-21, the Zephs scored on a 10-yard keeper by Nanoah, capping their second scoring drive to once again bring them within a touchdown.
But the Hawks reeled off 28 unanswered points after Negrete’s second TD, and Whitehall lost their fifth game of the season.
Head coach Justin Kondikoff said that their second half woes have been due in part to getting physically worn down. They’ve now scored 151 first half points, while managing just 28 in the second half, with 14 of those coming in their ACC win.
“We can’t keep our legs underneath us,” he said.
Many of their players play both ways, and he said that they’ll work on making practice mirror the rigors of a second half. They’ve demonstrated their ability to score on EPC opponents, they just need to do it consistently.
“We have to find a way to score in the second half,” said Kondikoff. “We’re struggling trying to put four quarters together.”
He said that with each passing game, they’re striving to get a little better.
That upward trajectory is especially notable in first-year quarterback Nanoah. Kondikoff said that he’s growing every week, and he finished Friday’s game 12-17 for 160 yards and two TDs.
Negrete was on the receiving end of six of those passes, finishing with 127 yards and two scores.
They had trouble sustaining a ground game against Bethlehem Catholic, gaining just 37 yards on the ground. Conversely, the Hawks ran for 340 yards as the tandem of Tavion Banks and Zaheer Seabrooks accounted for 232 of those yards.
Kondikoff said that they need to get better at tackling. Teams have been piling up rushing yards against them all season. It’s been their Achilles’ heel. Opponents have averaged almost 291 rushing yards per game this season.
Defensively, Jacob Heffner led the team in tackles with 11, while Anthony Johnson recorded eight, and Justin Santiago finished with six.
He said that the team comes to practice every day with a desire and passion to get better. Their goal is to get better each day and that will continue as they prepare for Parkland.