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Bellwood-Antis hands Rockets first loss in overtime

GAME FIVE B-A Blue Devils: 26 Southern Huntingdon Rockets: 19 Friday, September 28, 2007 • Three Springs, Pennsylvania

By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor

— In the end, all that mattered was the streak. Southern Huntingdon came into the contest at their own stadium, at Three Springs, outside of the small town of Orbisonia, undefeated at 4-0. Bellwood-Antis was 2-2, with two losses to teams that are currently both 5-0, and two wins over teams that are a combined 1-8. It has been 18 games and 28 years since the Rockets defeated B-A. On Friday night, Bellwood-Antis won 26-19 in overtime.

— On Friday night, the two teams traded touchdowns and defensive stands and fumbles and mistakes. When all 48 minutes of regulation had ticked off the clock, the two small school powers were deadlocked 19-19.

— In high school football, overtime means each team has an equal number of chances to score from the 10-yard line until one school has more points.

— Southern Huntingdon won the toss for the second time on the cool night. The Rockets elected to go on defense first, to see what Bellwood-Antis could do, then hope to match or better the effort.

— As they have done for most of their three wins, the Blue Devils gave the ball to senior tailback Brandon Humphreys and let their young inexperienced line do what they are supposed to do. In three straight hammering strikes, Humphreys moved the ball two yards, four yards and then the final four for the touchdown. Although he had kicked just one of three prior extra points in the game and only a total of two more in the Blue Devils first four ballgames. Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes called on Tyler Geis to kick the point after.

— “We scored in overtime and I know we had a lot of debate on what to do (kick, go for two),” said Hayes. “The one point is very important and I knew that their guy was pretty automatic. I wanted to give us our best chance to make sure we had a chance. And Tyler came through.” Geis’ PAT boot gave the Blue devils a 26-19 lead.

— Then it was Southern Huntingdon’s turn. After the Rockets had rushed 55 times for 223 yards and completed no passes of 10 thrown, coach Ryan Garlock called for three consecutive pass plays. On the first, Southern quarterback Zach Crull’s pass was deflected up in the air and Crull caught his own pass for a six-yard loss. The second was well covered and incomplete. Going to the trick book, on third and 16, the Rockets had Crull hand off to running back Ryan Shade who then threw the ball downfield to Crull, who twisted and turned down to the BA-2, where he fumbled the ball and the Blue Devils recovered to insure the overtime triumph and hand Southern Huntingdon their first loss of the year. This is the third straight year Bellwood-Antis has given the Rockets their first loss of the season.

— Both teams moved the ball pretty well to begin the game. Southern won the toss and took the kick to start the game driving 80 yards for the opening score of the game. From the BA-27, Crull rolled around the left side for about 10 yards, before lateraling the ball to Nick Hall, who raced the final 17 yards for the touchdown. Matt Gaston booted the PAT.

— Bellwood-Antis moved the ball, but stopped themselves on an interception after driving from their own-20 to just across midfield. After forcing a punt by Southern, Bellwood-Antis began at their own-25. Senior fullback Bruno DeGol, who had the best game of his career with 84 yards on eight carries, bulled for 13 yards on the opening call. On the second play, Humphreys got loose around the B-A side of the field, racing 62 yards for the score. Geis lined his kick just through the uprights to knot the game, 7-7.

— After a first quarter in which both teams moved up and down the field, the second quarter witnessed very little offense. Southern put the only points of the quarter on the board when Gaston blasted a 31-yard field goal with just three seconds on the first-half clock to give the Rockets a 10-7 lead at halftime.

— Bellwood-Antis opened the second half by receiving the kick, but fumbled the ball away on the first play from scrimmage. With Southern Huntingdon setting up at the BA-20, the Blue Devil defense forced the Rockets to settle for another 31-yard field goal by Gaston.

— Another B-A fumble led to a 10-yard TD run from Hall with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter. Southern Huntingdon had a 19-7 lead with a quarter to play.

— “We didn’t play very well early,” said Hayes. “But I told the kids at halftime that we had played well enough that we could take control of the football game. Honestly, we didn’t play very well in the third quarter. We couldn’t make a play, and actually they kind of took it to us. When Southern Huntingdon scored that third touchdown down at the far end, I thought at that point our kids had kind of thrown in the towel. Their heads were down and there wasn’t a lot of excitement. But, it’s amazing what one big play can do.”

— Blue Devil junior quarterback Nate Gray, who was having trouble throwing after getting his throwing hand injured earlier, came up with his only completion of the contest, finding tight end Geis over the middle for a 28-yard pickup on the first play from scrimmage following the Rocket kickoff.

— Humphreys went 14 yards on the next play, the first play of the fourth quarter, and then capped the seven-play drive later with an eight-yard TD to narrow the Rockets lead to 19-13 with just under nine and a half minutes left to play.

— The Bellwood-Antis defense stopped Southern for no gain on a third-and-one on the next series to force a punt.

— Starting from the BA-48, it took the Blue Devils just three plays to tie the game. After Humphreys ripped off nine yards, DeGol blasted up the middle and rambled 40 yards to the SH-3, and one play later bulled in for the TD.

— Southern Huntingdon had two more tries and Bellwood-Antis one, but the game went to overtime.

— In an email conversation this past week, Bellwood-Antis Football site webmaster Dave Padula mentioned that in light of the Blue Devils play over the first portion of the season, if success was to follow in 2007, then he guessed “it was time for Bellwood-Antis to make a statement.” On Friday night against an undefeated foe at their team’s home field with a hostile crowd out yelling the large group of B-A faithful, the young Blue Devils at the very least began to make a statement.

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