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Bellwood-Antis falls just short to Bishop Guilfoyle, 25-22

GAME NINE

Bishop Guilfoyle: 25

B-A Blue Devils: 22

Saturday, October 25, 2003 • Mansion Park • Altoona, Pennsylvania


By BOB MILLER | Daily Herald Sports Editor


The Blue Devils knew that before their Saturday evening game with ICC rival Bishop Guilfoyle began they wouldn’t make the playoffs. Earlier in the afternoon, Portage had defeated Ferndale 29-0, so everybody knew the dream was washed away for this year. However, that didn’t stop Bellwood-Antis from giving BG a fight they will remember for quite a while before falling at the very end 25-22. The game came down to the final series of the game, when B-A took over at their own 16 with 1:50 to play in the fourth quarter at Mansion Park. Needing to drive to at least within field goal range, the Blue Devils went out swinging only to have Derrick Hoffer’s wingback pass attempt intercepted. “Two weeks in a row, playing good teams, with our kids playing hard giving it a lot of heart out there,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes, “just coming up a little bit short. We had a great opportunity down there when we got the ball on the turnover near their 30-yard line. We just couldn’t come up with the right play. That was probably the ballgame there.” With Bishop Guilfoyle leading 25-15 at the start of the second half, Bellwood-Antis had the ball for much of the third quarter. The Blue Devils took the third quarter kick and drove from the BA-40 to the Marauder-27. QB Shawn Weiand, who completed seven of 12 passes for 84 yards on the day, connected with John McFalls for a gain of 16 and Matt Plummer for 11 more, Dan Houser, who pushed his season total to 760 yards rushing with 42 yards on 11 carries, added runs of six and four yards and Matt Sneath picked up a first down with a five-yard burst. The BG defense halted the threat however, sacking Weiand for a two-yard loss on fourth down. The Bellwood-Antis offense held Bishop Guilfoyle to three downs and forced the Marauders to punt the ball right back to the Blue Devils. Houser picked up 10 yards on the punt to get the ball to the BA-38. Sneath gained a dozen yards and Houser raced for a 22-yard scamper. Weiand hit Sneath for completions of 11 and six yards. Sneath ran a counter to the left for the one yard touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter. Troy Brunner booted the PAT to draw B-A to within three points 25-22. The Blue Devil defense forced the Marauders to attempt a punt on the next series and when the snap from center was bounced back to punter Tim Eck, he tried to run out of trouble and was sacked by Ben Kleiner for an 11-yard loss to give Bellwood-Antis the ball at the BG-32. The BG defense denied Bellwood-Antis any points however when Weiand’s third down and seven pass attempt was tipped up in the air and miraculously intercepted by the Marauders’ Mike Sprouse, on his knees. Bishop Guilfoyle had taken the 25-15 lead at halftime on a last-second Hail Mary pass from junior quarterback Adam Trybus to Jimmy Moschella in the end zone with no time showing on the game clock. “The touchdown at the end of the first half kind of shot our whole enthusiasm,” said Hayes. “We played there with them and would have been only one touchdown down coming out for the third quarter. That makes a lot of difference.” The two rivals had traded scores in the first half, prior to that 35-yard bomb, Although the Marauders controlled the ball, outgaining B-A in rushing 183-44 and in passing 103-32. Guilfoyle twin running backs Matt Georgiana and Josh DeStefano each ran for 67 yards in the first half and Sprouse carried three times for 38 yards, including a 15-yard TD scamper, that put BG back in front 12-7 near the end of the first quarter. BG received the opening kick and had to start from their own two-yard line. Overcoming obstacles, Bishop Guilfoyle drove 98 yards to put a TD on the boards, with DeStefano scoring the five-yard TD. The PAT attempt was blocked by Travis Ehredt. Bellwood-Antis couldn’t do anything on offense, but was able to come through on defense, on the next series. Trybus attempted a pass over the left side and Weiand picked it off from his cornerback spot and returned the interception 21 yards for a touchdown. Troy Brunner’s PAT kick gave the Blue Devils a 7-6 lead with 5:41 to play in the first quarter. BG came right back, driving 61 yards in 10 plays with Sprouse scoring the 15-yard TD around the left side. A two-point pass try was incomplete so the Marauders led just 12-7. Bellwood-Antis took their turn on the following series, marching 65 yards to retake the lead. Matt Sneath broke through for a gain of six to get the ball rolling, then rumbled for 25 more two plays later. Sneath, who led the Blue Devils with 61 yards rushing on 12 carries, ran a counter to the left for the three-yard TD. With Bellwood-Antis ahead 13-12, coach Hayes put junior Zach Tomchick in a quarterback and moved Weiand to a running back position for a two-point try. Tomchick took the snap and pitched back to Weiand, who spotted Matt Plummer wide open in the endzone for the 15-12 B-A lead. Trybus capped a 52-yard BG march on the next series, with DeStefano opening the drive with a pair of carries good for 19 yards and Georgiana carrying five straight times for 25 yards to put the ball inside the BA-one. Guy Fanelli booted his only successful PAT kick of the game for a 19-15 BG lead. With time running down in the half, Bishop Guilfoyle intercepted a Hoffer pass and with no time on the clock, Moschella somehow got past the B-A secondary for the TD grab on the final play of the second quarter. A pass for two points failed and the Marauders had a 10-point lead at halftime. Following the Blue Devils’ failure to score after taking over on the aborted punt attempt, BG started at their own 15 and drove the ball 70 yards to their own 15, taking a time-consuming 13 plays before the Bellwood-Antis defense stopped Trybus for a one-yard loss. “They are a good football team,” explained Hayes. “They did what they had to. They drove the ball down and sucked time off the clock. When we did stop them, it was a heroic effort to stop them there after they had done that successfully three or four times in the game. We knew what they were going to do. It was a matter of stopping them. “When we did stop them with two minutes left, that’s a pretty good defense to move 80-some yards with that amount of time. We went with some plays we thought would work and they didn’t. I don’t think that was where the game was actually lost. We had some opportunities and the touchdown at the end of the half all made a big difference. They practice to make plays and they made the plays. We practice and we came up a little short. “I was so proud of the heart that the kids showed. Knowing they were down two scores, and to hang in there. We played much better defense in the second half. Bishop Guilfoyle is a good football team with two strong powerhouse running backs and they threw the ball well enough to get out of the hole there at the beginning of the game. It’s just another very painful, painful loss because of how close we were.”





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