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  • Writer's pictureBellwood Football

Crushers take advantage of Bellwood-Antis mistakes to advance

GAME TEN—DISTRICT 6 CLASS A QUARTERFINAL Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers: 30 Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils: 29 Friday, November 12, 2010 • Memorial Field • Bellwood , Pennsylvania

By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor

— “In big games turnovers usually mark the difference in the outcome of the game,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes following the Blue Devils 30-29 loss in the quarterfinal matchup of the Single-A playoff contest at Bellwood Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

— Bellwood-Antis had 159 more yards in total offense in the game but had four turnovers, two of which were interceptions that Bishop McCort returned for second-quarter touchdowns. Bishop McCort had no interceptions and only one fumble on a vicious hit by B-A cornerback Buddy Shaw on Crusher quarterback Jesse Cooper. That fumble popped up into the air from Cooper’s hands and dropped right into the arms of a Bishop McCort player who was laying on the turf. Cooper never returned, but McCort didnÕt need him.

— Bellwood-Antis fell behind 7-0 early, rallied to take a 14-10 lead, then lost the ball on three straight second quarter series, two of which were returned for scores, along with a field goal that gave Bishop McCort a 23-14 advantage at halftime.

— Each team scored on their first series from scrimmage. McCort moved down the field 52 yards in just six plays, highlighted by a 34-yard completion from Cooper to Patrick O’Reilly and an 11 yard run by Zach Varga. Varga slipped one yard for the TD and Jordan Spangler, whose leg keyed the win, booted the extra point.

— B-A came right back, with Luke Evans finding Jared Minori for a 23-yard pass play and Derek Denny for nine more and a touchdown. Buddy Shaw missed the PAT, and the Crushers remained in front 7-6.

— With three minutes left in the first stanza, Spangler booted a 32-yard field goal to expand the McCort lead to 10-6.

— That would be only temporary, however. Bellwood-Antis drove 61 yards on their next series. Travis Taylor ran twice for 13 yards, Minori caught an eight yard pass and Denny pulled in another for 21 yards and Andrew DeGol covered the final 16 yards on two carries, the second a seven-yard touchdown. Taylor bulled over the left side for the two-point PAT and Bellwood-Antis led 14-10. From that point, the Blue Devil defense limited Bishop McCort to 32 net yards in 25 carries over the final three quarters.

— B-A continued to move the football, but kept shooting themselves in the foot instead of building on to their slim lead. First Varga, then Christian Leech returned Evans interceptions for touchdowns on back-to-back series. Varga picked Evans at midfield and ran it 50 yards for his score. Then Leech went 40 yards, when it appeared he would be tackled as he made the interception.

— Two penalties stopped Bellwood-Antis at the McCort-33 on the opening series of the third quarter, but the Blue Devils drove 60 yards the next time they got the football to slice the deficit to 23-21. Sophomore Tyler Campbell ran three times for 26 yards, Evans took a keeper seven yards for a key first down and Shaw covered the final 23 yards for the TD on a reverse, then booted the PAT to get B-A back into the ballgame.

— With 5:10 to play in the fourth quarter, Bellwood-Antis capped a 54-yard march with Travis Taylor smashing two yards for the score. Runs of 11 yards by DeGol and 12 by Taylor, and a 13-yard pass from Evans to DeGol kept the march alive.

— But that left Bishop McCort with too much time still on the clock. Taking over with 5:02 remaining, the Crushers marched from their own-36 to paydirt. The B-A defense refused to allow McCort to run the football with any regularity, but back-up quarterback Zaine Tomkowski put the ball in the air, completing passes of 24 yards to Leech and two for 15 yards to Anthony LaRue, before hitting Leech with a 21-yard Td pass that was partially tipped by Shaw right in front of the receiver. Spangler’s PAT gave Bishop McCort a 30-29 advantage with 1:09 to play in the game.

— Bellwood-Antis refused to quit, as Coach Hayes would note after the game.

— Somehow on the first play, Davensizer got a step straight down the middle on the Crusher secondary for a 52 yard gain on a toss from Evans to the McCort-24. After an incompletion, Evans found Davensizer for five, and Adam pitched the ball to Taylor on the hitch-and-pitch for 11 yards to the BM-13. Evans completed 15 of 21 passes for 221 yards, all career highs, with two interceptions and one TD.

— From here, things started to go haywire. Evans was tackled for a 12 yard loss and called for intentional grounding, which moved the ball back to the 30. When the downs marker indicated it was third down, Evans went to Campbell for nine yards to the BM-21 On fourth down, the B-A coaching staff, complained to the officials, they had lost a down, that it should have been third down, not fourth. The argument was to no avail. Evans then tossed a pass to Minori that seemed to advance the ball to the two-yard line, which would have been first and goal. The officials placed the ball at the five-yard line where the defender drove Minori back and out of bounds, and Bishop McCort took over and ran the final seconds off the clock to preserve the win.

— “If there is anything bright to take from this game, with the circumstances of what happened there with a minute something to go in the game,” said Hayes, “the kids made the effort to drive back down the field. I didnÕt have a very good seat—I’m not exactly sure about the spots and locations—but I feel pretty sure we lost a down, and that would have been important. We made plays on our own part, and we gave up plays. The two interception returns could very easily been big plays for us the other way.

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