Junior High Inter-County Conference Championship B-A Blue Devils: 18 Northern Bedford Black Panthers: 0 Thursday, November 5, 2009 • Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— At halftime, the Inter-County Conference junior high football championship game was a scoreless tie. That was pretty much what you might figure would happen. Here were a pair of football giants on the junior high level. Bellwood-Antis undefeated champion of the North Division of the ICC, versus Northern Bedford, undefeated champion of their own realm—the Southern Division. — In the opening two quarters, the two belligerents fought tooth-and-nail, no quarter asked and none given, each trying to find a soft spot they could use to their advantage. — Defense was the name of the game. Northern Bedford had a slight advantage in yardage, running 17 times for a net 56 yards, while Bellwood-Antis rushed 12 times for 35 yards. B-A completed two of five passes for a total of seven yards, with the visitors one-of-four passing for eight yards. Neither team dented the other’s goal line. Bellwood-Antis received the kick to begin the second half. — “Obviously, in the first half we were a little frustrated with our offensive mistakes,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Charlie Burch. “But even in the first half, we were proud of our defensive effort. Then in the second half, the defense took over. Our game plan became grind-it-out football, not go out of character of what we have always done. We just made a few big plays to not really break their back, but to make it comfortable.” — Tyler Campbell, held pretty much in check from the line of scrimmage by a huge and swift Northern Bedford defense, still made his presence known on special teams and defense. Campbell fielded the Panthers kick to start the action in the third quarter and immediately looked like he was in trouble. Giving ground and running laterally instead of north and south, Tyler raced nearly the entire width of Bellwood Memorial Field and with a couple of beautiful blocks was finally able to turn the corner on the home side of the gridiron and dart toward the scoreboard. Before he was finally brought down, the ball was at the NB-31. Campbell’s 51-yard kick-return set up the Blue Devils with a short field and they finally were able to take advantage, although they still required another fantastic play. — After Seth Worthing had raced 13 yards on a quarterback keeper for an initial first down, the Northern defense dug in and held The Blue Devils to a minus two yards on three plays. Faced with a fourth and 12, Worthing tossed a rainbow pass that Haden DeGennaro ran under and made a spectacular over-the-head, 19-yard catch in the end zone for the first score of the game. — After taking over three minutes off the scoreboard clock on offense, Bellwood-Antis forced a three-and-out series from Northern and took over again at their own-11. The home team turned around and marched to the NB-seven, using up valuable time and a dozen plays, before finally losing the ball on a fumbled handoff. Casey Gray, who led all rushers in the game with 14 carries for 80 yards, including 71 yards on nine totes in the second half, got loose for 11- and 24-yard scampers. Seth Worthing, who finished with 58 yards on seven carries, three-for-33 in the second half, added an 11-yard pickup. The Blue Devils ended up with no points, but played keep-away from the Panthers offense. — Again, the “D” forced three plays and a punt from Northern Bedford, and this time a 20-yard Northern Bedford punt gave the ball to the Blue Devils at the NB-21. Gray began the series with five yards on a run, Campbell carried twice for six to move the sticks for a first down, Worthing picked up nine on a sneak and Gray blasted the final three yards for the touchdown and a 12-0 lead, with 3:23 remaining in the game. — “When we got the second touchdown, I felt good. When we missed that two-point conversion (after the first score), you know how many games are 8-6,” explained Burch. “We played unbelievable second half football. We didn’t do what we wanted at will, but give Northern Bedford credit, they have a nice football team and were also undefeated coming in. They stunned and frustrated us a little bit with their aggressiveness in the first half, jumping us out of our game plan. We ground it out in the second half and the defense sealed the deal with Campbell’s pick at the end.” — Northern Bedford, with little success passing, was forced to keep trying, with time rapidly becoming a factor. Northern Bedford’s quarterback threw up a lame duck on the first play from scrimmage, and Campbell picked it off and dashed down the visitors’ sideline 42 yards for a touchdown that iced the victory for Bellwood-Antis.