The Bedford Bisons had their chances to break through against West Allegheny during Tuesday night’s PIAA Class AA semifinal at Hempfield Area High School.
The District 7 champion Indians haven’t been all that generous in letting opponents take advantage of those chances.
West Allegheny keeper Spencer Wolfe kept the Bisons at bay throughout and Cooper Amos’ goal in the 38th minute stood in the Indians’ 1-0 win.
West Allegheny hasn’t allowed a goal since a penalty kick against South Fayette on Oct. 10.
“It’s great,” West Allegheny coach Kevin Amos said. “They don’t like to lose. They lost in their junior and sophomore year in the (PIAA) quarterfinals, so they don’t like to lose. That’s been what it’s been. (Bedford’s) a good team. They put it on our doorstep with about 2 minutes to go.”
The Bisons (20-1-2) finish their season with a semifinal berth in the PIAA tournament for the second straight year.
“It was a hard-fought battle. They fought clean to the end,” Bedford coach Jeff Thomas said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to get this far. I think they’re all pretty proud of what they accomplished this year.”
Wolfe and Bisons keeper Brady Thomas were called on early to keep the match scoreless, making diving stops to punch away balls at the line.
Amos came through with the game’s only goal with 1:59 left in the first half, sending a ball low to Brady Thomas’ left side.
“That was huge,” Kevin Amos said. “We scored the same way in the quarterfinal with about 3 minutes left in the half. That’s just demoralizing before halftime. We knew they were going to come out and play hard in the second half. They moved a couple people around and kept the pressure on us through the half.”
Brady Thomas kept the deficit at one goal, making a number of saves during the second half when the Indians tilted the pitch toward the Bisons’ side. A few shots that sailed over the football uprights also helped the Bedford cause.
“(Brady Thomas) has done a tremendous job this year,” Jeff Thomas said. “He was a striker for us the last three years and he really turned into a pretty decent keeper.”
Late in the second half, the Bisons had a pair of corner kicks that led to chaos in front of the West Allegheny net, but not a goal.
The first try from the right of Wolfe ended up finding a Bedford attacker’s head and skidding just short of the goal line before it was booted away by an Indians defender.
The second kick, this time from the left, was headed by Sebastien-Jean Aluja before Wolfe stepped in to stop it.
“I think I lost more hair than getting gray hair,” Kevin Amos said. “You try to tell them at halftime that we have to be offensive-minded, but at this age they drift back and play defense and gave them way too many opportunities.”