Big second half pushes Bellwood-Antis past Central
GAME FOUR B-A Blue Devils: 26 Central Scarlet Dragons: 15 Friday, September 21, 2007 • Roaring Spring , Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— If it is a trend, it’s certainly one Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes hopes his young Blue Devils would quickly grow out of. For the fourth straight week, the Bellwood-Antis offense took a complete half before they got into attack mode. But with the help of four Scarlet Dragon fumbles and two more pass interceptions, Bellwood-Antis shut out Central in the second half, while using the middle two quarters to put all their scoring up on the board for a 26-15 win at the Roaring Spring Athletic Field.
— “It was a great team effort the second half to come out and play better offense and also tighten up the defense a little bit,” explained Hayes. “We knew that we had to play more consistently on defense in the second half. In the first half, we made some real good plays. But then we would give them third and long and to their credit their quarterback hung in there and made some great plays to keep them going. We tried to urge the kids that in the second half, we could win the ballgame if we just played consistently doing what we could do. We didn’t make any significant changes or adjustment. We just said we needed more pressure up front, and we need to jump on the ball and get to the ball a little better. I think the pressure and the hits caused us to knock a couple balls loose. The big fumble-turnover for the touchdown kind of gave us that little push and separation. It gave us some momentum to finish out the second half.”
— The Bellwood-Antis defense limited Central to just eight net rushing yards on 18 carries in the first half, but had trouble with junior quarterback Chris Kurtz and a group of talented receivers, who got a ton of yardage after the catch on multiple occasions. In the opening two quarters, Kurtz completed six of eight passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
— The Blue Devils, held to a school record low minus five yards rushing last week against a powerful Philipsburg-Osceola team, was much better against the Dragons, rushing for 29 yards in their very first series, although forced to punt.
— After a Brandon Humphreys punt backed Central up to their own nine yard line, the Dragons drove 91 yards for a score and the early lead. A pair of offside penalties by the Blue Devils helped the cause and a 21-yard pass completion from freshman Lewis Runk to Shane Cafferty on a fake fourth-down punt highlighted the march. Kurtz found Jordan hardy for the 31-yard Td strike and Devin Miller’s PAT kick opened up a 7-0 lead for the homestanding Scarlet Dragons.
— Not to be outdone, Bellwood-Antis took the kick and drove 70 yards for a TD of their own. Justin Manning pushed the ball to the C-16 with a 32-yard scamper on a double reverse. Humphreys covered the final nine yards for the touchdown. B-A missed the PAT kick and still trailed 7-6.
— Two series later, the B-A defense turned scorer. With the ball at the Dragons-14, Central fumbled and Second-Team All-State lineman Anthony Jenkins grabbed the ball in midair and rambled 12 yards for the Blue Devils second TD. The PAT run failed, but Bellwood-Antis retook the lead 12-7 with just over five minutes left in the second quarter.
— Kurtz got busy however, going to the air for a 44-yard completion to Runk and then capped the drive by hitting Cafferty for a 21-yard score with just 15 seconds to play in the half. Central increased their advantage to 15-12 when Brad Ritchey ran in the two-point conversion.
— Between an offense that controlled the ball for a total of 15 plays and a defense that forced two more fumbles, Bellwood-Antis domonaited the third quarter.
— On the opening series, Jenkins knocked the ball loose and Caleb Stevens recovered the fumble for the Blue Devils at the Central-14. Humphreys needed just one play to score the 14-yard TD. Tyler Geis booted the PAT to move B-A into a 19-14 lead they would never give up.
— Then on the following drive, Humphreys forced ba Dragon fumble and Justin Manning recovered whe the ball popped up in the air at the BA-14. Bellwood-Antis drove 86 yards in 13 time-consuming plays to score another six-pointer. Humphreys, who rushed 28 taimes for 152 yards, including 102 yards in the second half, added gains of 10, 12 and 13, in addition to plunging one yard for the score. Geis’ PAT kick set the final score at 26-15.
— “As long as we were moving we were content to keep on running, although, we could have done more passing,” Hayes disclosed. Junior quarterback Nate Gray had a slow first half (one pass completion in six attempts with one interception), but completed both of his third-quarter passes, one to Justin Miller for 11 yards and one to Manning for 24 yards. Both moved the sticks for first downs. “We were content to keep it on the ground and try and keep it away from Central.
— “Brandon Humphreys has had a rough start, but he came alive in the second half. He ran hard and I think when that happened, it picks up some of the other guys up too. The blocking starts getting a little better and there is a purpose to their efforts. We were able to get a little diversion with the other backs when they started keying on Brandon. It was a great team effort the second half.”
BLUE DEVIL NOTES: Nate Gray and Tyler Geis also recovered fumbles for B-A. Chuck Tomchick and Justin Manning had interceptions… Humphreys has been a good luck charm, rushing for 100 yards in both Blue Devil victories… Bellwood-Antis (2-2) will play undefeated Southern Huntingdon (4-0) at Orbisonia next Friday. The Rockets were 9-0 against all other opponents last year, and 0-2 against Bellwood-Antis.