Blue Devils squeeze past Mount Union
B-A Blue Devils: 17
Mount Union Trojans:14
Friday, September 24, 2004 • Mount Union, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
The Bellwood-Antis offense, which had clicked almost at will during the Blue Devils two straight victories at friendly Bellwood Memorial Stadium over the past two weekends, flashed in the opening few minutes of the Blue Devils game Friday night at Mount Union and then in the final five minutes of the game. In between, Mount Union dominated, stuffing the run and pressing the B-A quarterback into a bunch of incompletions. Bellwood-Antis used those few precious moments at the start and finish of the game, and an equally tough defense to pull off a 17-14 come-from behind victory.
— “Our kids did play defense well, but we still gave up some big plays,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “It’s good to play defense, but you have to play it for three downs and force a punt. Consistency is the key and we couldn’t seem to put those plays back-to-back-to-back.”
— B-A won the toss and kicked off to begin the contest and promptly forced a punt. Bellwood-Antis marched down the field to put points on the scoreboard on their first drive. Josh Kleinfelter scooted 13 yards and Zach Tomchick completed a pass to big tight end Troy Brunner, who went up and won the battle against two shorter defenders for a 24-yard gain to key the series. Travis Ehredt bulled four yards for the TD and Evan Celmo booted the PAT.
— Just as quickly as the score came, however, Mount Union put the clamps on the B-A attack. Led by returning First Team Class-A defensive back Trey McClain, the Mount Union defense limited Bellwood-Antis to just 53 yards rushing and one of 11 pass completions for another 30 yards, until the fourth-quarter clock was inside five minutes to play.
— Derrick Hoffer began the series following the first score by darting 12 yards on a counter play, but that was about the extent of the B-A offense, with the exception of the one completion from Tomchick to Chris Edmiston for a first down at the MU-32.
— In the meantime, Mount Union, which hadn’t scored in 10 straight quarters, including the opening stanza of the night, shook senior tailback Trey Rogers free for a 54-yard touchdown. Rogers burst through the line, got outside on the right side and outraced everybody for the long score. Doug Gardner’s PAT kick tied the score at 7-7.
— In the third quarter, McClain blocked a Bellwood-Antis punt to give the Trojans the ball at the BA-29. Bubba Brown connected with Paul Atherton for an 18-yard pick-up and Rogers slammed in from point-blank range for the one-yard TD. Gardner’s extra point gave Mount Union a 14-7 advantage with 6:28 to play in the third quarter.
— Despite the blocked punt, the B-A defense played well in both halves, giving up just the long run by Rogers in the first half and the short score that resulted from the field position following the punt block in the second half.
— On the next series after Mount Union took the lead Bellwood-Antis drove inside the MU-1, but couldn’t punch it in.
— Tomchick hit Derrick Hoffer for pass completions of six and 14 yards, and each moved the sticks for first downs, but Mount Union stopped the Blue Devils short of a score on a fourth-down-and goal, inside the MU-1.
— However, the Blue Devil defense smothered Rogers in the end zone on their first offensive play after the goal line stand. The two-point safety reduced the Trojans lead to 14-9 and required a free kick to the Blue Devils from their own 20.
— B-A couldn’t move the sticks and had to punt. The kick was mishandled and Brandon Pruznak recovered for the Blue Devils at the Trojans-22. Again, Bellwood-Antis was forced to turn the ball over on downs at the MU-11 by the Mount Union defense. On the second play from scrimmage, Kleinfelter recovered a fumble to give B-A the ball at the MU-22 again. This time, the Blue Devils were not to be denied. Despite a 10-yard penalty for holding, B-A measured the distance five plays to score the game-winner. Kleinfelter picked up one, before Kleinfelter turned passer, connecting with Hoffer for a 30-yard gain to the MU-1. Ehredt carried three straight times, losing two, picking that yardage back up and then slamming in over the left side of his line for the one-yard score. With 5:13 remaining, the Blue Devils went for two. Kleinfelter swept left end and just stretched the ball out in front of him for the two-point PAT and a 17-14 lead that the Blue Devil defense made sure held up for the win.
— “Our kids came down and they weren’t very focused on the trip down,” said Hayes in describing his players. “They weren’t very focused out on the field in warmups and obviously our play reflected a lack of intensity, a lack of focus through most of the night. With a win, we can hopefully learn from that and as we go down the road that won’t happen again. They are 16-17-18-year-old kids. They read the papers and I think they thought they were going to down here and have a pretty easy time of it. The other team practices and plays to win and they have some good players. Mount Union made some good plays tonight. They played well defensively, they seemed to be everywhere we went and they rally stuck it to us most of the night.”
— Bellwood-Antis (3-1) will celebrate their annual Homecoming next week against Southern Huntingdon with game time set for 7 p.m.