This Westinghouse team keeps on making history, but the Bulldogs aren’t done yet.

After finishing off a 28-8 win against WPIAL champion Beaver Falls (9-6) at West Allegheny High School on Friday night to become the first City League team to make back-to-back state championship appearances, there was no prolonged celebration or party in the locker room. Instead, Westinghouse coach Donta Green implored his players to quickly turn the page and refocus on the monumental task ahead — a PIAA Class 2A championship rematch looming against six-time defending champion Southern Columbia.

Just like last year, the undefeated Bulldogs (13-0) will be a massive underdog going against the preeminent football factory in all of Pennsylvania. Southern Columbia (14-1) has won 13 state titles, most of any school in the state, and the Tigers easily dismantled District 2 champion Dunmore on Friday, 39-7. Last year, Westinghouse gave Southern Columbia its toughest test in its past six trips to the state finals, but the Tigers came out on top, 37-22.

Now, the Bulldogs’ storybook season has finally come full circle, setting up a long-awaited rematch one year in the making — and Green wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s not good enough,” Green said about getting back to the state final. “We’ve got to finish. It doesn’t matter if we get there. We don’t want participation trophies. We want to win the big thing.”

Westinghouse coach Donta Green and the rest of his staff had plenty to smile about after the Bulldogs’ 28-8 win against Beaver Falls in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at West Allegheny High School. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Junior quarterback Khalil Green was equally effective with his arm and his legs for Westinghouse, completing 8-of-13 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 67 yards and a score on 11 carries. In his first season as a starter after taking over for record-setting quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo, Green has proven to be an even better replacement than the Bulldogs could have ever hoped for.

“It’s been fun to watch his progression throughout the entire year,” Green said about his dual-threat QB. “He’s like the coolest kid. There’s never any nerves or worries or anxiety. … It’s a joy to coach him.”

If Khalil Green is the conductor of the Westinghouse offense, then there’s no question who the maestro of the Bulldogs’ punishing defense is — senior defensive end Mike Richardson. A lengthy pass rusher who plays with a nonstop motor and unmatched ferocity, Richardson was constantly in Beaver Falls’ backfield making game-changing plays on Friday. He finished with three sacks, including one on fourth-and-goal to preserve Westinghouse’s lead at the end of the first half — and his game-clinching strip-sack in the fourth quarter caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Josiah Collins.

“It’s a brotherhood,” Richardson said about his team’s mindset. “When things get bad, or things aren’t on our side, we come together. That’s what we’re going to keep doing.”

Despite allowing the Tigers to cross midfield five times during the game — including four times in the first half — the Bulldogs defense stood tall in the red zone, limiting Beaver Falls to just one first-quarter touchdown on a 43-yard TD pass from Kadin Brickner to Mike Blackshear. Tigers coach Nick Nardone lamented the missed opportunities and the points left on the board, but he made sure to remind his team how proud he was after the game — especially of his senior class that became the first graduating class in Beaver Falls history to reach four consecutive WPIAL championship games.

“I feel terrible. Our kids deserved to win,” Nardone said. “They did exactly what we asked them to do. We left some plays out there, on me. I just feel very bad for our team. I feel like I let them down.”

Westinghouse came up with a fourth-down stop on the Tigers’ opening drive of the game, then four plays later, the Bulldogs were in the end zone after a 50-yard pass from Green to K’Shawn Hawkins led to a 3-yard TD plunge by Ty Abram. A 2-point conversion run by Kyshawn Robinson made it an 8-0 Westinghouse lead, but Beaver Falls responded with the long touchdown pass from Brickner to Blackshear moments later.

The score remained knotted at 8-8 until a 27-yard TD scamper by Green gave the Bulldogs a 15-8 lead with three minutes left in the first half. The Tigers followed with an impressive drive deep into Westinghouse territory, but Richardson came up with a crucial sack on fourth-and-goal to keep the Bulldogs in front going into halftime.

“I just felt like I needed to make a play at that moment,” Richardson said. “They came to my side, and I just went to go get him.”

Coming out of the break, the Beaver Falls defense forced and recovered a fumble by Green to set the Tigers up in great field position. But once again, the fearsome Westinghouse defense came up with a huge fourth-down stop inside the 10-yard line, giving standout senior running back Da’Talian Beauford little room to run all night for Beaver Falls.

“We just couldn’t finish off a couple drives, and again, that’s on me,” Nardone said. “They definitely made plays. Hats off to Westinghouse. They’re a great team.”

After the Bulldogs took over at their own 8-yard line clinging to a one-score lead, Green engineered a clutch 16-play, 92-yard drive capped off by a highlight-reel 12-yard TD reception by Hawkins on third-and-goal. The freshman went up for a jump ball that was tipped by a defender and somehow managed to corral the ball in midair and come down in bounds in the end zone, making it a 22-8 Westinghouse lead early in the final quarter. Hawkins finished the game with four catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

“I just kept my eyes on it the whole play. I had to make the play,” Hawkins said. “At the beginning of the season, I wasn’t even a receiver. I played [scout team] quarterback. … I just needed to step up and make a play for my brothers.”

From that point on, the Bulldogs faithful in the stands could already taste a return trip to the state finals, and they loudly voiced their approval with their various trademark chants and songs. Only two plays after Hawkins’ TD reception, Richardson forced a fumble with his second sack of Brickner, and Collins was in the right place at the right time to scoop it up and return it for a game-sealing touchdown.

Westinghouse’s Josiah Collins celebrates a touchdown against Beaver Falls in the PIAA Class 2A semifinals on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at West Allegheny High School. Westinghouse won, 28-8, to reach the state championship game for the second year in a row. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Union Progress)

Now, the stage is set for the ultimate revenge game, as Westinghouse will try to shock the world by dethroning Southern Columbia in the PIAA Class 2A championship game at 1 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs have gone all year without so much as mentioning the Tigers, but there’s no doubt they wanted another crack at the mighty Southern Columbia dynasty after last year’s heartbreaking defeat.

And if nobody gives them a chance to win, well, that’s just the way they like it.

“We put in a lot of work. There’s no point in getting nervous or getting worried,” Donta Green said. “I hope that our parents don’t even think that we can win. That’s how I want to go into this game. But I’m confident in the work that our guys put in, and I know we’re going to be prepared.

“We’ve been trying not to look too far ahead and take it one week at a time. … Now we can just let it all out and prepare for this team.”

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Steve Rotstein

Steve is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at