Camp Hill second-half effort knocks out Blue Devils in Eastern Semifinal
GAME THIRTEEN — PA Eastern Semifinal Camp Hill Lions: 27 B-A Blue Devils: 14 Friday, November 26, 2004 • Mansion Park • Altoona, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
Bellwood-Antis and Camp Hill battled to a 14-14 draw through the opening 24 minutes taking a tie into the locker room at halftime. However unlike the past 11 games when the Blue Devils were close at the half, this time the opponents never let the Blue Devils get started in the second half, while turning it up a notch to score twice and continue on to the Eastern finals next week.
— Bellwood-Antis closes out the year 11-2, after winning 11 straight games and claiming their third district title for head coach John Hayes and his staff. “When we started this season, we had so many openings coming off a subpar year,” explained Hayes (197-71-2), who ends his 25th season just three victories short of his 200th win. “We had so many unanswered questions. I don’t think anybody expected us to do much better than .500, maybe 6-4. These kids played their hearts out. They played like pit bulls at times, they just wouldn’t give up. We had our backs to the wall in a number of the games in this stretch we’ve been playing. It’s pretty obviously that at times, we are not the most athletic team out there. But this team plays with the courage, not to give up, to play to the very end. We still had a chance tonight until we threw the pick. Those kids didn’t quit. They played that way all year long. They did everything we asked of them. They worked and did so much of it themselves. They were one of the most involved of any group of kids I have ever been associated with. They deserved, they earned, everything they got. As a coaching staff, it was just fun to be around them.”
— Things looked good for Bellwood-Antis early. Camp Hill took the opening kick and completed a 21-yard toss from quarterback Andrew Withington to his younger brother Michael Withington on the first play of the game, but M. Withington fumbled three plays later and Jonathan Davila was right there to recover for the Blue Devils at the BA-49.
— On the second call of the series, junior quarterback Kyle Drost spotted Derrick Hoffer behind the secondary for a 35-yard completion to the Lions-15. Sophomore tailback Josh Kleinfelter darted for 13 yards to the two and Davila, who started it with his fumble recovery, capped it with a two-yard touchdown. With 9:11 to play in the opening quarter, B-A had a 7-0 lead when Evan Celmo booted the PAT.
— The Blue Devils seemed to fall asleep after that however, until the final series of the half.
— Camp Hill, which came into the game averaging 35.6 points and 400 yards total offense, scored on a pair of Andrew Withington passes to take a 14-7 advantage.
— The second Blue Devil touchdown was all Josh Kleinfelter. Derrick Hoffer returned the kick following the Lions’ second TD, 11 yards back to the BA-20. Kleinfelter, who rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries to become just the third B-A runner to rush for 1,600 yards in a season, began the march with an nine-yard gain. After Hoffer picked up a first down with an eight-yard scamper, Kleinfelter took a pitch from Drost and turned into a passer. Josh fired a long bomb to junior Dan Kovac, who took the ball away from a defender for a beautiful 34-yard completion. Kleinfelter then scooted 10 yards for another first down to the CH-19. Travis Ehredt bulled inside for six yards and then Kleinfelter had his number called three straight times for three yards, four yards and the six-yard TD. Celmo converted the PAT kick to send the teams into halftime 14-14.
— “Based on our history this year, we felt pretty good with the 14-14 score at halftime,” said Hayes. “Especially when we took that last touchdown in. Their kids were walking, they didn’t quite have the bounce they had before. I don’t think we intimidated them, but I felt we had a pretty-good shot. But we had to come out and we had to make something happen, at least show we could move the football. Camp Hill was strong and they were quick. We had to rely on too many gimmick-type of things. You know, you can’t make a living on that.”
— Camp Hill held Bellwood-Antis to a three downs and punt on the opening series of the second half and then moved down the field, getting quickly to the BA-28. The Blue Devils got a break when Dan Kovac came up with a Lion fumble. Kleinfelter worked a draw play for a gain of 35 yards, but B-A ended up punting the pigskin away.
— The B-A defense was able to hold the high-powered Lions with a huge effort by Adam Martin, Tyler Narehood, Davila, Troy Brunner, Derrick Hoffer and Tony DelGrosso, but Camp Hill was able to explode for big yardage. Half of the Camp Hill total of 260 yards rushing came on just four plays, including 41, 26 and 37-yard scampers by Camp Hill fullback Alex Osevala, who carried 22 times for 156 yards to lead all runners and scored both of the Lions second-half TDs. Withington had gains of 24,11 and 13 and 21 rushes for 79 yards overall, to add to the total and completed nine passes for another 151 yards. Andrew’s younger brother Michael had five catches for 97 yards.
— With time running out in the fourth quarter, Bellwood-Antis tried valiantly to get another score. Drost, who completed five of 17 passes for 110 yards, his second straight 100-yard passing game in the playoffs, found Kleinfelter for a gain of 45 yards on a screen pass. Three plays later, Camp Hill intercepted Drost at the CH-8 to ice the win.
— “Obviously, we felt coming in that we could win this game,” said Hayes. “We though it would be like all the others. We were hoping to end up with one more score at the end of the game than the other team. When we got off to a good start, I though we had the momentum. But, we were playing a very good football team. They know how to win and they in there to the very end. Other teams we played this year maybe capitulated to the pressure we put on them. We just couldn’t make one more big play to turn up the heat in the last couple minutes.”
Blue Devil notes: Kleinfelter trails Don “Booker” Moore, who had 1,653 yards in 1985 and Chris McCartney, who rushed for 1,608 yards in 1990, both were seniors… Kleinfelter has 1,848 yards total offense for the year (rushing, passing, receiving) to set a new school record. Ken Woodhall (1,675 in 1946), Moore (1,654 in 1985) and McCartney (1,651 in 1990) had been one-two-three… Dan Kovac caught 10 passes for 298 yards this season and Derrick Hoffer had 18 catches for 266 yards. The last duo to reach the 200-yard reception yardage was in 2001 when Jordan Taylor had 266 yards receiving and Ryan McCartney had 292… Drost finishes with 24 of 64 passes for 425 yards in guiding the Blue Devils to four wins in five games since taking over when Zack Tomchick was lost for the season due to an injury… Hoffer joins Mike Desch (’78, ’79), Joe Orolin (’74, ’75) and Brad Wertz (’95, ’96) as the only Blue Devils with two 200-yard receiving seasons.