GAME TWELVE — DISTRICT 6 CLASS A SEMIFINAL B-A Blue Devils: 37 Bishop Guilfoyle Marauders: 7 Saturday, November 17, 2007 • Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Bellwood-Antis continued their journey through the District 6-A tournament against long-time rival Bishop Guilfoyle on Saturday night at Bellwood Memorial Stadium. With the Blue Devils continuing their second-half dominance, Bellwood-Antis also turned in one of their best first-half performances as well, in shelling BG 37-7 to advance to the district championship game for the fourth straight year. — Bellwood-Antis (8-4) earned their fourth straight berth in the District 6-A championship finals. The defending champs will play Purchase Line, who defeated Portage 6-0 on Friday night. The championship tilt will be on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Altoona Mansion Park. — B-A ran over the Marauders defense, administering a physical beating on Bishop Guilfoyle, rushing for 304 yards, passing for another 155 and limiting BG to a single score, and cut the Marauders’ rushing and passing totals to half of their first 11 games total. Averaging 146.8 yards rushing and another 160 passing, Bishop Guilfoyle was only able to rush for 77 yards and pass for 65 against the B-A defense. — After a slow start, the B-A line, with just one senior among the interior five, has gotten better over the past several games of the regular season and has dominated in the first three rounds of playoffs. — “At the beginning of the year, we were mixing and matching, kind of like trying to work a puzzle together,” explained Bellwood-Antis head coach John Hayes, whose Blue Devils have never lost a district semifinal game. “For about the last six weeks, we’ve been able to put a group in there that worked together. They’re starting to mesh, they communicate better and they’re on the same page with one another....The results, I think, confirm that.” — Brandon Humphreys led the offensive explosion with 184 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, and scored a fourth TD on a 17-yard pass completion from junior quarterback Nate Gray. The B-A offense has now rushed for over 300 yards in three of their last four ballgames, and passed for an average of 138 yards in the playoffs. — Bellwood-Antis took the opening kickoff and drove from their own-35 to the BG-20 before stalling, with Gray opening up early, hitting tight end Justin Miller for a gain of 23 yards and finding 6-Foot-5 wide out Alan Wertz for an eight yard completion that moved the sticks for a first down. The Marauders got one first down, before punting as neither team could punch in a score on their first possessions. — Beginning from the BA-26, the Blue Devils opened the scoring one series later. Humphreys carried three straight times for 21 yards before Justin Manning went around the left side for 22 more. Humphreys covered five yards on the next call, then went over the left side for 26 yards and the TD. The snap from center on the extra point was high and BG was able to snuff a run. — Brown connected on a couple short passes and ran twice for 23 yards to get the ball to the BA-10. On the ninth play of the series, Brown completed a 10-yard pass to his top receiver Logan McDannell for the touchdown and Amanda James put BG (6-6) into their only lead 7-6 on the first play of the second quarter. — The Blue Devils didn’t take long to regain the lead. Gray found Manning for 16 yards on the first play following the kickoff, and Humphreys got loose for a 45-yard TD on the next play, then grabbed a shuffle pass from Gray for the two-point PAT and a 14-7 B-A lead with 10:50 left in the half. — A Justin Miller sack highlighted the next defensive series for B-A, but on offense, Bellwood-Antis stopped themselves with two big 15-yard penalties to hand the ball right back to BG. — The Blue Devil defense came up huge again, with Chuck Tomchick sacking Brown this time for a six-yard loss on a third-and-four. — With 2:42 on the second quarter clock, Bellwood-Antis scored once more to take a 21-7 lead into the halftime intermission. Bruno DeGol slammed up the middle for 19 yards on the opening play of the seven-play drive. — Humphreys carried three times for 11 yards and a first down. Gray connected with Wertz for 17 and then three plays later found Humphreys all alone down the left sideline for the 17-yard TD. Tyler Geis booted the PAT. Earlier in the series, Gray connected with Wertz for a 19-yard TD, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty. — Neither team was able to do much for the first part of the third quarter, until the B-A offense set up at their own-32. Humphreys carried three times for 20 yards, and Gray passed to Wertz for six yards and Geis, over the middle, for 19. DeGol burst through for 15 and Humphreys picked up nine to put the ball at the BG-1, then added the TD. Geis kicked the extra point. — Beginning near the end of the third stanza, the Blue Devils moved from their own-29 to the Marauders-7, when Geis kicked his first field goal of the year, from 24 yards out to increase the Blue Devils lead to 31-7, with 7:45 to play in the game. — With the junior varsity in, Bellwood-Antis scored once more with 1:34 in the game. Randy Pfahler got the call around left end for a 21-yard touchdown and Nate Plummer’s PAT kick was short to set the final score. — “I think we played about as complete a game as you could want,” said Hayes. “BG is a good football team and to be able to hold them to just seven points, our defense played great. We were concerned about a couple different things, we worked hard all week trying to make our kids aware of. We were able to negate that with good pressure up front, as well as recognizing their stuff and not getting beat deep. That was our big concern, where they had won a lot of football games. — “Being able to throw the ball early (Gray had 130 passing yards in the first half), make some first downs throwing the football, kept their defense back. That kept them playing us honest and opened up the running lanes. The guys up front really blocked well and Humphreys had a big night running the football and the fullback was able to scoot in there a couple times to take advantage of some overplay on Humphreys. — “It was a complete effort both offense and defense. We did pretty much what we had drawn up and hoped to do tonight.”
BLUE DEVIL NOTES: Bellwood-Antis is an incredible 11-0 in district semifinal games and has won district titles in 1988, 1997, 2004 and 2006… Humphreys has rushed for 547 yards and scored 10 TDs in the Blue Devils three playoff games. Humphreys has rushed for 1,347 yards, and scored 22 TDs this year… Gray has passed for 414 yards in the playoffs… Wertz has seven catches for 172 yards in the playoffs… Purchase Line is the No. 5 seed. The Red Dragons’ last appearance in the district finals was a loss to Moshannon Valley in 1996.