GAME THIRTEEN — PIAA QUARTERFINAL B-A Blue Devils: 28 Steelton-Highspire Steamrollers: 8 Friday, December 1, 2006 • Mansion Park • Altoona, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— On the offensive line there was Josh Peters, Chad Coho, Caleb Stephens, Anthony Jenkins and Cody Smith; on the defensive line there was Jenkins, Peters, Tyler Narehood and Coho. That group of young men controlled the PIAA Western Semifinal contest at Mansion Park on Friday night. They are the base upon which the Bellwood-Antis football success has come in 2006. They blew away the Steelton-Highspire line on both sides of the ball to lead the Blue Devils to a convincing 28-8 victory over the two-time defending District 3-A champs. At times, they made it look almost too easy.
— On offense, which proved to be the best defense Bellwood-Antis could possibly have by playing keep-away and not allowing Steelton to have the ball, they blocked for senior tailback Josh Kleinfelter who rushed for four touchdowns and 240 yards. On defense, with the exception of one long pass play which set up Steel-High’s lone score, the B-A defense limited the Rollers to just 54 yards in 37 plays.
— “Our kids played with tremendous enthusiasm, I don’t think they were going to be denied tonight, regardless of what conditions we had out there or what was going to happen.” said Bellwood-Antis head coach John Hayes.
— Although the first quarter was scoreless and Bellwood-Antis led just 6-0 at halftime, the Blue Devils pushed Steelton all over the field, but kept making one mistake or penalty that stopped a drive short of scoring.
— This was a game of highlights. It is rare for the fans to see a runner go over 2,000 yards rushing in a season, yet in this game, two runners accomplished the feat.
— Kleinfelter broke loose for a 33-yard gain over the left side on the second B-A play from scrimmage to surpass the 2,000-yard mark for second straight year. Then with about four minutes to play in the second quarter, Steelton sophomore Jeremiah Young scooted eight yards for a first down to increase his season total to 2,001 yards. Young was injured on the play and never returned. His absence in the second half no doubt was a key factor for Steel-High, although the way the Blue Devil defense was playing, you have to doubt it would have made much difference.
— “We’re kind of like junkyard dogs,” explained Hayes about the play of his line against larger opponents. “They aren’t pretty, but they’ve become a pretty cohesive unit. They are getting pretty good at the schemes we are doing, and tonight they did a good job.”
— Bellwood-Antis kicked off to began the contest and the B-A defense bent as Steelton moved on the ground for a first down, but then applied the stopper when Narehood stopped the runner for no gain and Bruno DeGol made a tackle following a one-yard gain, coupled with a five-yard penalty, forcing the Steamrollers to the air. Danny Campbell picked off an Andre Campbell pass to give the Blue Devils the ball at their own 22. Bellwood-Antis immediately moved the ball, but a pair of penalties stopped them short. A couple of series later, the B-A defense rose up again stopping Campbell for a one-yard loss, then Jon Davila made a perfectly-timed dash at the snap that resulted in a quarterback sack, and after Campbell lost another yard Bellwood-Antis took over near midfield after a Steelton punt. Kleinfelter covered all but two yards on the following drive, including the four-yard TD. Evan Celmo’s PAT kick was blocked by Aaron Wilson, but Bellwood-Antis had a 6-0 lead.
— “We got started on that first series. Even though we didn’t score, we were able to move the ball. Confidence is a big factor in these games,” explained Hayes. “It’s important that your kids get the belief early. On the other side of that our defense made some plays that probably put some questions in the other side’s minds.”
— The Blue Devils continued to move the ball in the third quarter, but an interception and a holding penalty thwarted drives until B-A forced Steelton to punt from deep inside their own territory following a quarterback sack by Josh Peters.
— Taking advantage of the short field, the Blue Devils drove for their second score. Kleinfelter had his number called on all five plays, including the 21-yard touchdown jaunt. Going for two points on the PAT, Evan Hughes tossed a pass to tight end Blaze Winterstein all alone in the end zone to improve the B-A margin to 14-0.
— Steelton went to the air on their next series and Davila came up with his second interception on the very first play to give the ball right back to the Blue Devils.
— Kleinfelter jump-started the drive with a 10-yard pickup on the first call. Then Davila bulled nine yards and came back later in the drive for 11 yards on two more totes. Kleinfelter blasted three yards for the score and Celmo kicked the PAT.
— Steelton-Highspire was finally able to get something going on the next series, although it didn’t look like it initially. The Steamrollers appeared to be going in the wrong direction as first Winterstein, then Jenkins came up with back-to-back quarterback sacks. With Young out and the B-A score mounting Steelton seemed to scorn the run and go nearly exclusively with the pass, or at least attempting to pass. On a third-and-26, Campbell was able to connect with Wilson for a 56-yard gain to the BA-8. One play later, Campbell teamed with his big fullback Jordan Hill for two straight pass completions. The first was an eight-yard TD and the second was a two-point conversion to close the margin to 21-8.
— Bellwood-Antis then put their third touchdown of the second half in the books to close out the scoring. In eight plays, Bellwood-Antis marched 58 yards for the TD with Kleinfelter motoring the final 10 yards. Celmo booted the PAT.
BLUE DEVIL NOTES: This was the Blue Devils first PIAA playoff win in four tries… Kleinfelter has now rushed for 2,205 yards in 2006 and a career total of 5,848 yards. Josh reset the TD record at Bellwood-Antis with 34, eclipsing his school-high 30 from last year… Kleinfelter passed Albert “Chub” Dillen’s old record of 454 points scored, setting the new mark at 476.