Blue Devils rally to sink Juniata Valley; will face Bishop Carroll for championship
GAME ELEVEN — District 6A Semifinal Playoff
B-A Blue Devils: 35
Juniata Valley Hornets:14
Saturday, November 13, 2004 • Bellwood-Antis Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
Which ever team emerged as the victor, a long streak would be broken. The number-three-seed Juniata Valley Hornets had waltzed through a 9-0 undefeated regular season and then trimmed Moshannon Valley for the second time in the season in round one of the District 6-A playoffs to go 10-0 for the first time in school history. Bellwood-Antis, the second seed, had been skunked 40-13 in their season opener at Tyrone, but then had put together a nine-game win streak.
— Visiting Juniata Valley, with a defense that had allowed only a total of 20 points in their first 10 games, and an offense that led the area in scoring averaging 39.1 points per contest, jumped out to a 14-0 advantage early in the second quarter. This game was over, right? Yes, this game was over—for the Hornets. The Bellwood-Antis defense forced five turnovers and turned them into 21 points and the B-A offense ran practically at will to rout the Hornets 35-14, scoring 35 straight unanswered points and earn thermselves a berth in the district championship next weekend at Mansion Park.
— The visitors were forced to go to the air when their rushing attack, which had been averaging 274.5 yards per game, was limited to just 34 yards on 17 carries by the Blue Devil defense. Senior Hornet quarterback Dan Beatty responded with his third straight super passing performance to get Juniata Valley a two-touchdown lead. Beatty finished the first half 12-of-17 for 175 yards and two TDs.
— The Juniata Valley cheerleaders held up a banner with “Burn the Devils,” painted on it for the Hornets to run through at the beginning of the game and they did for the first quarter and a half. While 1,000-yard rusher Johnny Boyd was held to seven yards on seven carries and 700-yard rusher Dustin Hoffmaster was held to three yards on four carries, it was up to Beatty to provide the spark.
— Beatty connected with speedster Tyler Hall for 15 yards and Hoffmaster for 13, before spotting Hall for 10 more and the first score of the game with 5:46 left in the opening quarter. Hall caught six passes for 112 yards in the game. Foreign exchange student Sven Mross added the first of two PAT kicks.
— After B-A sophomore Evan Celmo missed a 24-yard field goal attempt, Juniata valley went right back on the offense to drive 80 yards for another score. Although the Bellwood-Antis “D” held the Hornets to a minus one yard on two rushes, Beatty guided Valley down the field through the air, combining with Hall for completions of 27 and 47 yards, then threaded a toss to Corey Lightner for a 16-yard TD pass and with Mross’ kick, Valley took a 14-0 lead with 10:15 left in the half.
— Derrick Hoffer got the Blue Devils comeback started by returning the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to the BA-39.
— After the Hornets stopped Travis Ehredt for no gain, junior signal caller Kyle Drost found Hoffer down the right sideline for 13 yards and a first down. Josh Kleinfelter got nowhere and Drost hit Ehredt for seven. Kleinfelter carried twice for 22, Ehredt bulled for 11 and Jonathan Davila scored a three-yard TD. Celmo’s PAT split the uprights and cut the Hornets lead in half 14-7.
— On the next series, Juniata Valley went for it on a fourth-and inches at their own 49. Bellwood-Antis stopped the play in the backfield when Davila recovered a fumble at the JV-45.
— Drost and Hoffer teamed up for an 11-yard gain before Kleinfelter burst through for a 36-yard TD romp. Celmo missed the PAT to allow Juniata Valley to hang on to a slim 14-13 lead at halftime.
— “With the speed and the weapons that team (Juniata valley) has and to go down the way we did early the kids could have folded very easily,” said Bellwood-Antis head coach John Hayes. “I’m sure a lot of people have in the past, but our kids have been through a lot this year. They have had some extremely difficult competition. They have risen to the occasion every time so far. I just have to believe that says something for them.”
— The two teams looked each other in the eye in the second half and it was the Hornets who flinched.
— After Bellwood-Antis had lost the ball on downs and punted on their first two series in the third quarter, Juniata Valley muffed a punt and attempted to pick it up. Travis Ehredt recovered at the JV-34, for the Blue Devils. Kleinfelter, who led all rushers with 155 yards on 26 carries bolted for 25 yards on two carries and Ehredt, who added 137 on 22 totes, picked up eight more. Davila bulled for the one-yard TD. On the PAT try, Troy Brunner caught a pass from holder Blaze Winterstein to give B-A a 21-14 lead.
— Beatty went to the well once too often on the second play of the next series and junior Dan Kovac stepped in front of the intended Hornet receiver. Kovac picked up blockers down the home side of the field to complete a 49-yard touchdown return on the interception. Celmo booted the extra point as Bellwood-Antis doubled up Valley’s score 28-14 with just 0:45 left in the third quarter.
— Juniata Valley, with a plus 12 turnover ratio, fumbled again on the following series, with the Blue Devils recovering at the JV-46. At the end of the Hornet run, Hoffer knocked the ball free and Brunner came up with the recovery.
— In the fourth quarter, Beatty threw three incomplete passes at their own 14-yard line and Valley was forced to punt. Devon Clapper returned the ball 14 yards to the JV-38 and Ehredt capped the scoring for the day with a three-yard score and Celmo boomed the PAT.
— The Blue Devil defense held Beatty to just three completions in nine second half attempts for 21 yards and intercepted him twice.
— “This is very gratifying right now,” said Hayes. “It wouldn’t matter if we had won by a point, or two points or five points, but the way we hung in and the plays our kids made in the second half is a real mark of courage and perserverence.
— “Right now we’re going to enjoy this. There was a lot of preparation and anxiety that went into this week, stretching all the way through Saturday. I donÕt like playing on Saturday, although right now, I might have second thoughts about that. It’s been a long week and weÕre going to enjoy this for at least eight hours. Then go back at it tommorrow morning and get ready for Bishop Carroll.”
Devil Notes: This was the second game in a row that both Kleinfelter and Ehredt rushed for over 100 yards, with the Blue Devils really stepping it up in the district playoffs… With 1,418 yards rushing, Kleinfelter has the fifth-best season total in B-A history… With three catches for 36 yards, Derrick Hoffer joins Joe Orolin (Õ74,Õ75), Mike Desch (’78,’79), Brad Wertz (’95,’96) and Ryan McCartney (’01,’02) as the only Blue Devils with more than 200 yards receiving in two separate years. Hoffer has 17 receptions for 221 yards this year after grabbing 21 for 346 yards last year as a junior. Derrick has 567 career yards receiving, fourth best on the B-A career charts… This is the 12th time B-A has won 10 straight games in a season, the last time was in 2001, the alltime record is 13 in 1988. Bishop Carroll (9-2) downed top seed Blairsville 35-28 in overtime on Friday night to earn their seventh straight trip into the District 6-A championship finals.