Blue Devils’ second-half rally holds off Chestnut Ridge to hand Lions first loss
GAME SEVEN B-A Blue Devils: 35 Chestnut Ridge Lions: 21 Friday, October 14, 2005 • Fishertown, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
Nothing comes easy when Bellwood-Antis and Chestnut Ridge get together to play football. The last two varsity contests have been won by the Blue Devils by three and seven points. The junior varsity game last year was decided by an Evan Celmo field goal with a minute to play. The junior high game in 2004 was a 7-0 win for Ridge on a fourth-quarter score by then ninth grade quarterback Max Kauert.
— Friday night at Dr. Larry Giovacchini Stadium in Fishertown was no exception. B-A jumped out to a 14-0 advantage with a touchdown in each of the first two quarters. The Lions came roaring back on two quick scores to tie the game at 14-14.
— Bellwood-Antis kicked to Chestnut Ridge to begin the second half and Lion runner Nick Herncane electrified the Ridge fans by taking the ball up the middle 51 yards to the BA-25. Max Kauert found running back Jordan Downey for nine yards to the Blue Devil-14. The B-A defense forced a pair of incompletions, but on a third and nine, Kauert found Mike Tomovich in the end zone for a 13-yard TD pass. The PAT kick by Brandon Schade was wide right to leave Bellwood-Antis ahead 14-6.
— The Chestnut Ridge defense forced a punt by the Blue Devils, taking over at their own-25. On first down, Kauert fired a strike to Tomovich, who raced 75 yards for the score. Going for two points, Ridge pulled off a trick play with Tomovich throwing a pass to Sasha Kauert, Max’s older brother to tie the game at 14-all.
— “I was real concerned, when Chestnut Ridge tied the score,” was how Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes assessed the situation after a second Max Kauert, starting varsity as a sophomore, touchdown pass knotted the score at 14-14. “I believe that sometimes, no matter what you do, things can happen. We talked about the kickoff, the last thing before we left the locker room, about good coverage, making a play. Their kid just made a great effort. We didn’t cover it and they came out fired up with great momentum and got exactly what they needed to do that. Then on the first play from scrimmage, our kids were a little flat-footed looking for a run. They threw the ball and the receiver made a good move and the quarterback hit him and all of a sudden he’s off to the races, it’s tied up Then the two-point conversion, when you’re reeling like that we were coming hard and it was very easy for them to convert.”
— After the two teams exchanged punts, Devon Clapper returned the Ridge kick 23 yards to the BA-46. Kyle Drost connected with Clapper for eight yards and Jon Davila ground out four yards for a first down. Josh Kleinfelter covered 17 yards on two carries and Clapper picked up three more. Clapper then took a wingback counter over the left side, cut back and scampered 33 yards for a go-ahead score. Evan Celmo booted the third of five perfect PATs to move the Blue Devils out to a 21-14 advantage. Drost has now connected on 39 of 79 passes for 765 yards.
— “I was very concerned at that point and time,” explained Hayes. “But if you are going to be a good football team-if you hope to be a championship caliber football team, you have to rise to that challenge. We weren’t losing, it was just zero-to-zero-14-14. We just had to start over. Devon got us good field position. We got started and were able to make some big plays and grind it out some there in the second half.”
— Bellwood-Antis then worked a successful onsides kick, which was recovered by junior Evan Hughes at the BA-49. Drost got them off and running with a 17-yard pass completion to Kleinfelter on the first play of the drive, and Kleinfelter, who rushed 35 times for 207 yards in the game, motored 23 yards to the CR-11. Kleinfelter had his number called on four straight plays, including the two-yard TD and a 28-14 lead.
— “I noticed on the kick before they were overshifting towards the hash mark where we were kicking off from,” said Hayes about calling the onsides kick. “We had a lot of room on our sideline and it kind of worked out right. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but we had some of our people over there. Their kid got a hand on it and it was close to us not getting it, but we got it cleanly. It was a good play of us, we needed something like that because they are a good football team. Sometimes they get overlooked because of their schedule but they have great athletes and played well out here tonight.”
— Ridge wasn’t done yet, with Max Kauert driving the Lions 65 yards for another tally to close the score to a touchdown-difference at 28-21. Kauert opened with a completion of 15 yards to Tomovich, then used his legs to pick up 13 yards and first down in two carries. Brandon Miller bulled for six yards and Downey scooted for 11 more, before Kauert found his brother Sasha for a 20-yard TD strike and Schade added the PAT. Max Kauert was held to just one completion in eight pass attempts in the first half, but finished seven of 17 for 143 yards and three TDs to lead the way for the Lions.
— The Blue Devil defense, led by Adam Martin, Tony DelGrosso, Tyler Narehood, Troy Brunner and Anthony Jenkins, limited the Chestnut Ridge (6-1) rushing attack to just 68 yards on 26 rushes.
— Bellwood-Antis rose to the occasion one more time to salt the victory away. Justin Manning returned the kick following the final Chestnut Ridge score 19 yards to the BA-24. Bellwood-Antis was hit with a 10-yard penalty that kicked them back to their own-14, but B-A turned around and drove 84 yards for the score. The TD drive was all Kleinfelter. The B-A junior, who now has rushed 170 times for 1,182 yards, his second 1,000-yard season, carried six times for 28 yards, then got loose over the right side and raced 57 yards for his fourth TD of the evening and 19th of the season. With 4:12 remaining in the game, Celmo’s PAT gave the Blue Devils a 35-21 lead they would hold to game’s end.
— “Right now, this is a big win for us,” said Hayes. “We have to win, win, win, when you are in this type of playoff position. A win here obviously against a good team is going to help us in that thing. But through the course of the year, when we may have to come back from behind, or when a team comes back on us, we will have had that experience. We’ve been there against a good team and were able to do that. We have that to rely on, to bank on this experience down the road. Our kids learned a lot tonight, and a lot of it was from mistakes. I think we will be better for it. Hopefully we can correct some of those things and everybody’s healthy and we can get ready for another tough one next week.”
— Bellwood-Antis (6-1), who rushed for 269 yards and threw for 153 yards, against a Chestnut Ridge defense that in their first six games was giving up just 4.5 points, 67 yards rushing and 67 yards passing, is at home for Senior Night next Friday against once Moshannon Valley (5-2), who dropped a 34-0 contest to Juniata Valley on Friday night.