West Allegheny coach Bob Palko continually preaches the importance of special teams.
On Friday night in Imperial, it was a pair of special teams plays that made the difference as the Indians upended the visiting Woodland Hills Wolverines, 14-13, in Class 5A Allegheny Eight Conference action.
Drevon Baldwin returned a kickoff 90 yards to break a 7-7 tie early in the fourth quarter to give West Allegheny the lead for good. But it took a bad snap on a Woodland Hills’ point-after attempt to seal the victory.
“It came down to execution and timing, and special teams,” Palko said. “You never know what phase is going to be able to help you. We’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time on (special) teams, and it worked out.”
The Indians (4-1, 4-1) remain atop the conference standings. Woodland Hills fell to 1-4 in conference play and 1-5 overall.
The game looked like it was headed to overtime when Woodland Hills’ Michael Coleman hauled in a 43-yard touchdown catch with 1:25 to play to draw the Wolverines within a point at 14-13. But the PAT snap was high, and holder Jayden Lucas took off with the ball and was tackled short of the goal line.
“(Lucas) turned around and made a heads-up play,” Woodland Hills coach Tim Bostard said. “He didn’t try to put it down and get it blocked. From the side it looked like he had a chance to get in, but unfortunately he just got caught a little short.”
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