Bellwood-Antis outguns Lewistown in first-half shootout, second-half defensive struggle to win first
GAME TWO B-A Blue Devils: 47 Lewistown Panthers: 0 Friday, September 7, 2007 • Mitchell Stadium • Lewistown, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Big plays got Bellwood-Antis the lead in a huge first half on Friday night at Lewistown Mitchell Stadium and a tough defense in the second half made sure that Lewistown wasn't going to get back into the ballgame in a 47-20 triumph for the Blue Devils.
— Between the two Mountain Athletic Football Conference Nittany Division foes, there were five touchdowns scored in the first quarter. Four of them went on the Blue Devils' side of the scoreboard.
— "Special teams and special plays sparked our offense in the first half," said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. "It was tough to come back after last week, but we had a good workout on Monday, and continued through a long work week."
— Lewistown won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half, so Bellwood-Antis chose to receive to begin the game. The offense began with a nine-yard gain by Bruno DeGol and an 11-yard pickup by Brandon Humphreys. Later in the 67-yard march, DeGol galloped through the middle for 17 yards. Nate Gray capped the drive by completing his only pass of the series over the defense to 6-foot-5 Alan Wertz in the end zone for a 20-yard scoring strike.
— On the Panthers' first play from scrimmage following the kick, junior quarterback Connor Muir went to the air. Last week, Muir threw for 234 yards and two TDs. Cornerback Justin Manning intercepted Muir's first toss returning the pick 32 yards for a quick score. Humphreys ran in the two-point play to give B-A a 14-0 lead with 7:24 left in the opening quarter.
— "Big plays made the difference and helped our defense to feel better about what was happening," said Hayes. "Punt returns, Kickoff returns, interceptions-all those things really were big helps in the first half when it was a shootout."
— Lewistown came right back, moving the ball in big chunks on the ground. C. J. Lyter covered the final 14 yards for the TD. Hannah Geedey added the first of her two PAT kicks to slice the B-A lead in half, 14-7.
— The second of those big plays Hayes was talking about after the interception, was the next kickoff following the Panthers TD. Brandon Humphreys fielded the kick, started up the middle, moved over to the hash mark and raced 80 yards for a back-breaking touchdown, and a 20-7 advantage.
— Lewistown was unable to move the ball and had to punt on their next series, and Manning ran the punt back 49 yards to the L-23. Randy Pfahler began the series by losing two yards, but Manning picked him up with a 12-yard scamper and then Pfahler scored on a nine-yard run to give the Blue Devils a 26-7 lead after one quarter.
— Lewistown picked up seven points in a hurry, when Muir faked to Lyter and gave the ball to Dane Moist on an inside reverse instead, and Moist raced untouched for a 48-yard TD. Geedey's extra point kick narrowed the score to 26-14.
— Everybody was in on the big plays for the Blue Devils. This time, it was Pfahler's turn, running the kick back to the L-40, a return of 34 yards. Humphreys had runs of nine and eight, DeGol smashed through for eight yards and Manning added a pickup of nine, before Humphreys score his second TD of the night from three yards out. Senior tight end Justin Miller grabbed a two-point PAT pass from Gray for a 34-14 lead.
— Muir wasn't having the night he did last week when he completed 18 passes, but he was able to do with his legs, what he couldn't do with his arm, getting loose for gains of 15, and 12 yards to drive the Panthers to their third score, a one-yard plunge by Lyter.
— Bellwood-Antis special teams came through again when sophomore Zach McCaulley found a hole and returned the kick 27 yards to the BA-47. Not to be outdone, Bellwood-Antis came back once more, scoring on all of their four first-half series. Lewistown killed themselves with two 15-yard penalties and Gray capped the march by connecting with Wertz for a 19-yard TD pass. With four seconds left in the half, Bellwood-Antis has amassed a 40-20 lead to take into the halftime intermission.
— While Lewistown was rushing for 153 yards in the first half, after the action began again the B-A defense rose up to hold Lewistown to a minus one yards net on the ground in the second half.
— "In the first half, Lewistown had us back on our heels on defense," said Hayes. "But in the second half, we were able to put pressure on the passer and to shut down the run. We adjusted well at halftime and had a pretty good turnaround in the second half on defense."
— After the first-half shootout resulted in nine touchdowns, there was only one additional score in the second half. That could have been partly a result of improved defense, and the heat, which caused several players on both teams to cramp up.
— Bellwood-Antis moved quickly for the final tally of the game. From their own-48, Justin Manning went around the left side for 39 yards, then Humphreys, who rushed for 113 yards on 19 carries, gained 12 yards and Humphreys plunged for the one-yard TD. Geis kicked the PAT.
GAME NOTES: Gray has only two completions in two game, but both are for touchdowns… Gray had an interception… Lewistown had five second half possessions-an interception and four punts and no TDs… Bellwood-Antis scored on their first five possessions and punted only once-late in the fourth quarter… Geedey is the first female to appear in a game against the Blue Devils… Manning touched the football just six times, including the interception and punt return, yet had 142 yards of total offense… In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils had number 34 and number 44 back to return a punt, but it wasn't Josh Kleinfelter and Devin Clapper like so many times from 2004-06. Instead it was sophomores Zach McCaulley (34) and Nick DeGol (44)… Bellwood-Antis will celebrate Homecoming next Friday night against Philipsburg-Osceola. The game will start at 7 p.m. at Bellwood Memorial Stadium.