When Westinghouse advanced to the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal round for the first time ever in 2021, it felt like a pretty big deal.
Now that the Bulldogs have made it there three years in a row, it’s clear that “The House” is here to stay.
Fueled by big games from quarterback Khalil Green, running back Ty Abram and wide receiver-defensive back Lloyd Penn, Westinghouse kept its perfect record intact and moved one step closer to a return trip to the PIAA championship game with a 46-30 win against District 9 champion Central Clarion (11-1) in a battle of unbeatens Friday night at Clarion University. The City League champion Bulldogs (11-0) will face the winner of Farrell-Mercyhurst Prep next weekend in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinals at a date and time to be determined.
“This is where we want to be every year,” said Westinghouse coach Donta Green. “This is what we preached from day one. It’s huge for the program and huge for the City League. It’s really cool for the kids to see the hard work pay out dividends.”
The Bulldogs fell behind early on, 8-7, but they quickly took control of the game and never looked back. Abram rushed for 154 yards and a trio of touchdowns, Green ran for 120 yards and a pair of TDs, and Penn came up with a crucial 61-yard interception return TD to help the Bulldogs pull away in the second half.
“We were able to go into the locker room and take a deep breath, and let them know what was happening was exactly what we expected,” Green said. “They answered. They came out and played really well in the second half.”
Central Clarion came into the game boasting the highest-scoring offense in the state, averaging 59.7 ppg while surpassing the 70-point threshold four times through its first 11 games. The Bulldogs’ suffocating defense held Central Clarion to about half of its season average, but Green still wasn’t satisfied with his team’s defensive effort, insisting they need to be better in order to reach their goal of a state title.
“We always preach that it’s about us. It’s never really about the opponent,” Green said. “As long as we come in and do what we do well and execute, we’ll be fine. We don’t really get caught up in the numbers or caught up in records.
“At the end of the day, it’s our 11 against their 11.”
With a record of 42-3 over the previous four seasons, Westinghouse has rapidly risen from perennial City League title contender to a bona fide state championship front-runner under Green’s watchful eye. The Bulldogs won their first 14 games in 2022 en route to their first PIAA championship appearance, falling to mighty Southern Columbia, 37-22, in last year’s PIAA Class 2A final.
Many expected a bit of a drop off for Westinghouse this year after graduating so many key seniors, but the Bulldogs now find themselves two wins away from back-to-back state championship appearances — and only three wins away from capturing the ultimate prize.
“At the end of the day, we block that noise out, because we know they’re uninformed,” Green said about the preseason chatter surrounding his team. “We have to clean up some of the mistakes we made and be willing to prepare and get better every day.”