GAME TEN — DISTRICT 6 QUARTERFINAL
B-A Blue Devils: 32
Saturday, November 11, 2006 • Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Bellwood Memorial Stadium looked like it was caught in the middle of a torrential downpour for most of the District 6-A quarterfinal contest on Saturday night between the homestanding Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils and the Glendale Vikings.
— Glendale came into the quarterfinal playoff game fresh from their first-ever playoff game last week against Conemaugh Valley and featured a double-headed running attack that had rushed for nearly 2,200 yards and scored 29 touchdowns in Derek Nash, who had rushed for 1,424 yards and 13 TDs, and Gary Walstrom Jr., who had rushed for 765 yards and scored 16 times.
— Bellwood-Antis scored early and with their usually-potent defense advanced to the next rung on the playoff ladder with a solid 32-0 triumph.
— “The big thing tonight was to get that opening kick and go down and score,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “We didn’t plan on receiving the kick, our preference was to kickoff and go on defense. Getting up certainly gives you a little bit of a confidence boost in everything you do. Then the defense took over.”
— Glendale won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half, so Bellwood-Antis received the opening kick and promptly 65 yards for the first score of the ballgame.
— Josh Kleinfelter, who rushed 31 times for 192 yards to push his season total to 1,663 yards, ran twice for 14 yards to open the series, and senior fullback Jon Davila gained 11 yards on a pair of carries before Kleinfelter bolted the final 13 yards for the touchdown. With 6:59 left in the first quarter, Evan Celmo’s PAT kick gave B-A a 7-0 lead.
— Glendale marched to the BA-28 on their first series of the game, but Davila, who spent much of the game in the Glendale backfield, stopped Nash for a one-yard loss and the Blue Devils took over.
— Bellwood-Antis turned around and drove 72 yards for the second TD on a march that was capped by a Kleinfelter six-yard TD scamper just 30 seconds into the second quarter. Kleinfelter actually had a 36-yard TD called back on an illegal block penalty, but the Blue Devils marched it in for a score anyway. Celmo booted the extra point to give B-A a 14-0 advantage. Celmo becomes the first kicker at Bellwood-Antis to reach 100 PAT kicks.
— On the following series, the Blue Devil defense forced Glendale back four yards in three play, with Josh Peters and Chad Coho stopping Nash for a two-yard gain before Davila spilled Nash in the backfield for a five yard loss and Peters nailed him for the loss of another yard on third down.
— Nash, a junior who played youth football in Bellwood, before moving into the Glendale School District, carried 25 times for 85 yards to push his 2006 rushing total 1,509.
— Justin Manning returned the Viking punt 14 yards to the G-47 and it took Bellwood-Antis just one play to strike paydirt again. Quarterback Evan Hughes spotted fellow-senior wingback Devon Clapper behind the Glendale secondary for a 47-yard pass play for the Blue Devils.
— Clapper wasn’t done yet however. After Walstrom picked up one yard and Viking senior quarterback Shane Kimberly connected with Brandon Baker for his only pass completion for another yard, Clapper picked off Kimberly’s next pass attempt and returned it down the left sideline 49 yards for the Blue Devils third score of the quarter.
— “Getting up those first three scores, which we were able to do pretty quickly, really set the tone and allowed us to do a few more things, to pin our ears back on defense and go,” said Hayes. “It allowed us to play with a little more recklessness and abandon, to make the plays we needed to stop them.”
— The Blue Devil defense has now given up an average of 7.6 points per game after recording their second straight shutout, 130 yards rushing and 50 more passing, while the B-A offense has averaged 26.8 points, 247 yards rushing and 58.6 passing for an average of 305.6 yards per game.
— After a scoreless third quarter in which neither team was able to do much in the rain and mud, Bellwood-Antis put their stamp on the game with a long 18-play march that ended with Kleinfelter’s third TD of the night.
— The best defense is always to keep the ball away from a team’s offense. Glendale had the first two plays in the fourth quarter, and then never got the ball back until after Kleinfelter’s one-yard plunge set the final score at 32-0.
— Kleinfelter had his number called on an even dozen plays in the long drive, including a 21-yard scamper on a second and nine, Justin Manning carried twice for 15 yards, his only carries of the game, and Bruno DeGol got the other four totes, including twice smashing through the line for short-yardage first downs to keep the march moving.
— “Glendale is a good football team, they had a good year. They are to be commended, they played hard right up to the last whistle,” credited Hayes. “I think our guys played a good game defensively, we did what we had to. I was disappointed that offensively we weren’t able to do more in the second half. It was important that we finished that drive at the end to carry us into next week. That was a plan in the back of our minds—to keep the ball away from them. We didn’t run anything that was going to do much else that was going to break for much more than four or five yards and hopefully just move the sticks. It was important to finish it off.”
— Bellwood-Antis (8-2) will play at Southern Huntingdon (9-1) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the D-6A semifinals. The Rockets shutout Laurel Valley 43-0 on Friday.