Arnold big reason Bisons claimed top seed

High School Football

This is the fifth in a series of high school football features on some key players on playoff-bound teams in the Mirror’s coverage area

Bedford won’t be playing the first week of the high school football postseason, and Dylan Arnold is a major reason for that.

The senior running back, who is also one of the team’s top tacklers defensively and handles the punting and kicking duties for the Bisons, helped Bedford secure the top overall seed in the District 5-8 Class 3A playoffs.

“We’ve grown together and had some ups and downs,” Arnold said. “But we have stuck together and believe in each other. That’s given us some extra confidence going into the playoffs.”

Bedford edged out District 8’s Westinghouse, which finished as the Pittsburgh City League runner-up, for the top seed.

The Bisons will play the winner of Saturday’s Westinghouse-Somerset semifinal game at a District 5 site a week from tonight.

“We just need to execute and make sure we do the little things right,” Arnold said. “We’ll believe in each other no matter who we play.”

Arnold has run for a team-high 923 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, which accounts for more than half of Bedford’s total for the season.

“I just find an extra gear when we get close to the end zone,” Arnold said. “Plus my offensive line kicks it up a notch as well and open lanes for everyone.”

Thanks to those lanes and the threat of Arnold’s power running game, Zach Price and quarterback Steven Ressler have both run for more than 440 yards as well.

“Teams aren’t able to key on one person,” Bedford coach Kevin Steele said. “When our offense is running the way it’s supposed to, defenses can’t key on Zach, Steven and Dylan all at the same time.”

When freshman kicker Lizzy Martz went down with a knee injury while playing soccer, Arnold went back to his placekicking duties he’d handled in years past.

“He has kicked on and off for us,” Steele said. “We trust Dylan is all three phases of the game.”

Bedford started the season off hot with wins in four of its first five games but struggled down the stretch until beating Johnstown in the season finale to give itself a chance at the No. 1 seed.

“It was certainly nice to close the regular season with a win,” Arnold said. “We didn’t have a strong finish, but hopefully that win gives us some momentum.”