Blue Devils dodge rain,mistakes to edge Juniata Valley
GAME EIGHT B-A Blue Devils: 24 Juniata Valley Green Hornets: 20 Friday, October 23, 2009 • A. R. Simkins Field • Alexandria, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— In a steady rain that got harder as the clock ran down in the fourth quarter, Bellwood-Antis managed to get through the weather and their own mistakes and still outlast a determined Juniata Valley squad that gave everything they had, 24-20 to remain undefeated at A.R. Simkins Field in Alexandria on Friday night. — The muddy field was definitely a game changer, limiting the Blue Devils speed and outside attack as well as their passing game, previously averaging 115 yards per game. Plummer and Company managed just three completions for a total of 17 yards. — “The weather was definitely a big factor tonight,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “But, we made a lot of mistakes that were not due to the weather. We missed blocks, we gave up a punt block that led to a touchdown. We had trouble tacklingÑseveral times we had the runner stopped and he slipped through when we didn’t wrap. Give Juniata Valley a lot of credit. They played hard. We were able to answer their first score and it was important to get the lead and go up by more then one score. We played hard enough and did enough right to hang on. The ‘W’ is what is most important.” — Bellwood-Antis kicked off to the Hornets and forced a punt. A 13-yard scamper by Tyler Beech netted a first down, but the Blue Devils were forced to punt as well. — Senior Hornet linebacker Taylor Boyd, who had a terrific game, broke through to block Buddy Shaw’s punt and Nick Watson caught the ball in the air and raced to the 11-yard line where Lucas Evans made a touchdown-saving tackle, pushing Watson out of bounds. — Aaron Wagner, who ran for 104 yards on 24 carries and became the first rusher this year to gain more than 100 yards against the Blue Devil defense, had his number called on all four plays culminating in a four-yard touchdown. The PAT failed on a bad snap from center on the two-point try. — Bellwood-Antis would answer on their next series. Shaw returned the kick 18 yards to the BA-48. Zack McCaulley raced for 15 yards on the first play and then later scooted for 16 and added the 11-yard Td one play later. On the night, Zack had 31 carries for 176 yards. — B-A went for two on the conversion, but needed some luck. The snap came back to holder Lucas Evans, who threw a shovel pass to McCaulley. Zach saw he was about to be tackled, and tossed the ball back to Evans, who was nearly tackled, as he lateraled to Nick DeGol, who had been lined up deep as if to kick the PAT. DeGol then threw a pass into the end zone to Jared Minori for a very drawn-out two points on a very convoluted play. The kind you draw up in the dirt in a backyard game against the neighbor kids. It worked however, and the Blue Devils had an 8-6 lead, one they would never give up. — Bellwood-Antis got the ball right back when Trey Campbell intercepted Seth Carper on a tipped ball at the JV-40. Shaw picked up eight on the first play and Nate Plummer connected with DeGol several calls later for nine yards and a first down. McCaulley burst for nine yards and a first down at the JV-10, then carried three straight times, the last a one-yard TD. This time on a more conventional attempt, Plummer passed to Minori for another two-pointer and a 16-6 lead. — Juniata Valley, which had success all night running the Jet sweep to the right, picked up big chunks of yards with senior fullback Shawn McCrum The drive began with an eight-yard gain to the right. Wagner followed with a matching eight-yard pickup, again to the right side. Wagner added a first down with 13 yards in two plays, again both to the right. Wagner went to the well one more time for another five yards. The B-A defense stopped Wagner for a yard loss, but then Boyd took it to the house, going left over the middle on a reverse for 25 yards and and the score. Wagner ran for the two-points to narrow the B-A lead to 16-14 at halftime. — Bellwood-Antis received the second-half kick with Beech returning the ball 10 yards to the BA-38. The Blue Devils took nearly six minutes off the clock, driving 62 yards in 13 plays with McCaulley adding his third score, a one-yard plunge for the six. A 12-yard scamper by Dan Noye netted a key first down, and McCaulley added seven, six and seven yard gains to fuel the march. Beech ran for the Blue Devils third two-point conversion and a 24-14 advantage. — That wouldn’t hold up very long. Beginning with 6:19 left in the third quarter, the Hornets drove 53 yards in 10 plays to paydirt. Five running plays netted five yards each or more, predominantly to that familiar right side, and Wagner scored his second TD of the night on a 14-yard jaunt. The two-point try failed, so the score stayed 24-20 in favor of the Blue Devils. Two series afterward, Beech opened a drive with back-to-back first down runs of 13 and 10 yards, but the Hornets never allowed Bellwood-Antis any closer than the JV-38 for the rest of the game. — Starting their final try from their own-11, Valley drove to the BA-46. McCrum burst for 19 on the very first play, Boyd picked up seven and McCrum two, before Wagner picked up a first down on an eight-yard carry. Two runs gained four yards and Juniata Valley bought another four downs, with time running out when Harnish found Boyd over the middle for the only Hornet pass completion of the game at the BA-47. On third down and nine, time ran out for Cinderella when Plummer intercepted a Harnish pass and the Blue Devils took a knee twice to drain the clock.