Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Brake Makes Mars Hard to Stop

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Brake Makes Mars Hard to Stop

Article excerpt

With its season on the line, Mars Area turned to its two-sport fall standout to keep it moving forward.

This was one Brake who didn't want his team's success to come to a halt.

Caleb Brake, a junior kicker who doubles as a starter on the Mars soccer team, booted a 19-yard field goal as time expired to give the host Planets a 17-14 win against New Castle in a WPIAL Class AAA first-round game.

It was Brake's WPIAL-leading eighth field goal of the season. The Planets (9-1) play Ringgold (9-1) tonight in a quarterfinal at Chartiers Valley.

Less than 24 hours after his Friday heroics, Brake was at Highmark Stadium in Station Square as a starting defender for the Mars soccer team, which lost to South Fayette, 3-2, in overtime in the WPIAL Class AA championship.

Brake was one of three WPIAL kickers who helped their teams win first-round games Friday before playing in soccer title games Saturday. Avonworth's Cole Pappas and Seton-LaSalle's Leo Wilson were the others. Wilson was the only one of the three to win a soccer title.

Belle Vernon Area ends drought

One of the top teams in Class AAA rolled to its first-round playoff win.

What made Belle Vernon's 36-7 victory against visiting Chartiers Valley particularly special was that it was the Leopards' first playoff win in 15 years.

In the first postseason game played on the gold turf at James Weir Stadium, Belle Vernon exited a playoff winner for the first time since defeating Hampton, 39-8, in a 2000 quarterfinal. Since then, the Leopards had dropped 13 consecutive playoff games, losing in the first round the past six seasons.

Derek Verkleeren was one of the stars against Chartiers Valley, returning a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown after the Colts scored their only touchdown, and later scoring on a 5-yard reception from Mike Fine, who also rushed for two scores.

Belle Vernon (10-0), which meets Franklin Regional (8-2) in a quarterfinal tonight at Norwin, wasn't the only first-round winner to end a lengthy postseason win drought. …

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