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Belle Vernon Ends Hickory’s Season in PIAA Class 3A Semifinals

Hickory gathers as a team following its loss to Belle Vernon in the PIAA 3A semifinals.

WEXFORD, Pa. – Hickory’s postseason run came to an end on Friday, as Braden Laux ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in Belle Vernon’s 42-16 PIAA Class 3A semifinal win over the Hornets at North Allegheny High School.

Penn State commit Quinton Martin accounted for two touchdowns in the first half (one rushing, one receiving) as the Leopards built a 28-3 halftime lead that was nearly 35-3, with Hickory’s defense coming up with a goal line stand at the end of the first half.

“I’m just so proud of these guys,” said Hickory coach Bill Dungee. “They epitomize leadership, hard work, toughness, everything we want in this program. I’m just going to miss those guys. Hats off to them (Belle Vernon). They are fast, physical, athletic, just weapons all over the place, and then they spread you out and have a 215-pound quarterback running behind a big offensive line.”

Belle Vernon (12-1) set the tone right away, taking the opening drive of the game 65 yards in 6:20, capped by a Laux 3-yard touchdown run.

“We made some plays early, but missed some opportunities to get them off the field on third and long,” Dungee said.


Hickory’s bet drive of the game came when they took over at their own 43-yard line with 56 seconds left in the first quarter. A reverse pass, with quarterback Zander Telesz on the receiving end of a 35-yard strike from Will Acrie, set up Lukas Jones’ 40-yard field goal that made it 7-3 with 9:26 left in the first half.

From their, however, it was a whole lof of Laux, Martin and Jake Gedekoh.

Martin capped a 54-yard drive with a nifty 20-yard touchdown run on the next Belle Vernon Drive.

Adam LaCarte intercepted Telesz on the next Hickory possession, and two plays later it was Gedekoh busting loose for a 60-yard touchdown run.

After a Hickory (11-3) punt set up the Leopards with a short field, they once again had a quick drive, with Laux flaring a pass out to Martin and Martin doing the rest, racing 39 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-3 with 3:38 left in the half.


Belle Vernon nearly scored again after a Hickory punt, but the Hornets stopped Laux at the 1 as time expired in the first half.

“The guys could have quit, but they didn’t,” Dungee said.

Things started getting out of hand early in the third, when Laux capped a 40-yard drive with a 1-yard run after Hickory turned the ball over on downs, making it 35-3 with 6:32 to go in the third quarter.

But the Hornets showed their resiliency right away, as freshman Kelvin Morrison returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.

After forcing a Belle Vernon punt, the Hornets went back to work.

A 43-yard pass from Telesz to Timmy Krivosh set up a Telesz 10-yard touchdown touchdown pass to Parker Hilliard, and Hickory was within 19 at 35-16 with 2:21 to go in the third quarter.

“Our message at halftime was that’s not who we are,” Dungee said. “Let’s go out and fight. We cut it to 19 points. If we could have got a stop on that third down, you get the ball back, who knows, we were rolling a little bit offensively. But like a championship team, they were able to make a play there and kind of ice the game away with their run game and big offensive line. But our guys kept fighting.”

The third down Dungee was referring to was when Laux scampered for 15 yards on third-and-eight on the next possession.

That led to a Kole Doppelheuer 10-yard touchdown run with 8:04 to play.

Belle Vernon outgained Hickory 463-173, with 368 of those yards coming on the ground.


The Leopards will look for their second consecutive state title next Saturday when they take on Northwestern Lehigh, a 33-24 winner over Wyomissing in the other semifinal.

For Hickory, they will reflect fondly on a season that saw them win their second District 10 title in a 4-year span.

“It’s tough right now, but when it’s all said and done, just great memories,” Dungee said. “These seniors, I’m going to hug each one of them. It’s not the touchdowns, the tackles, the interceptions, it’s the heart, the fight, every day in practice. They just believe in each other and believe in the brotherhood. Just a special group.”


Score By Quarters

Hickory          0 3 13 0 – 16
Belle Vernon 7 21 7 7 – 42

First Quarter

B – Braden Laux 3 run (Preston Rathway PAT), 5:20

Second Quarter

H – Lukas Jones 40 field goal, 9:26
B – Quinton Martin 20 run (PAT blocked), 8:20
B – Jake Gedekoh 60 run (Laux to Anthony Crews 2-point conversion), 3:38
B – Martin 39 pass from Laux (Rathway PAT), 3:38


Third Quarter

B – Laux 1 run (Rathway PAT), 6:32
H – Kelvin Morrison 91 kickoff return (2-point conversion failed), 6:17
H – Parker Hilliard 10 pass from Zander Telesz (Jones PAT), 2:21

Fourth Quarter

B – Kole Doppelheuer 10 run (Rathway PAT), 8:04



Hickory: Zander Telesz 12-44, Kelvin Morrison 5-12, Keenan Scullin 3-4, Sean Kennedy 6-(minus)2, Will Acrie 1-(minus) 3. Belle Vernon: Jake Gedekoh 11-111, Braden Laux 15-83, Kole Doppelheuer 10-74, Quinton Martin 8-66, Deaubre Lightfoot 6-34.


Hickory: Zander Telesz 7-of-11, 83 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; Will Acrie 1-of-1, 35 yards. Belle Vernon: Braden Laux 7-of-10, 95 yards, 1 TD.


Hickory: Timmy Krivosh 2-50, Zander Telesz 1-35, Will Acrie 3-13, Luke Nevil 1-10, Parker Hilliard 1-10. Belle Vernon: Quinton Martin 4-67, Alonzo Wade 1-22, Adam LaCarte 1-5, Kole Doppelheuer 1-1


Bellle Vernon: Adam LaCarte


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