Devils struggle but turn back Mo Valley a second time to earn McCort showdown
GAME ELEVEN—DISTRICT 6 CLASS A QUARTERFINAL B-A Blue Devils: 13 Moshannon Valley Black Knights: 7 Saturday,November 8, 2008 • Memorial Field • Bellwood , Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes said it when he stated in his midweek interview that it was tough when you had to play a team for a second time. — “Anytime, you get the opportunity to play someone again,” explained Hayes, “you get a pretty good understanding of what they want to do. You have to adjust, shore up techniques and work on the mistakes you made and the things you did well, and put what you didn’t do but think might work into the playbook.” — On Saturday night at Bellwood Memorial Stadium, Bellwood-Antis and Moshannon Valley met for the second time this season in a quarterfinal District 6-A playoff tilt. Bellwood-Antis had dominated 44-0 in the first meeting, handing the Black Knights their only loss of the regular season. Six Mo Valley turnovers paved the way for that big victory for the home team. — This time, although Moshannon did commit an interception and fumble to turn the ball over on their first two series from scrimmage, it was Bellwood-Antis making the mistakes and just barely escaping with a hard-fought 13-7 win. — The Bellwood-Antis offense marched into the Red Zone six times and inside the 30 twice more, but were able to score only twice. The “O” shot themselves in the foot, oftentimes committing penalties that negated first down runs. The Blue Devils committed six of their total of seven penalties when they had the football. The one time on defense resulted in a first down for Moshannon Valley. — “We played awfully good at times,” said Hayes. “Offensively, we had some great plays. Unfortunately, a number of them came back because of a penalty. Still, some guys made some fantastic plays, ad-libbed like Nate’s (Gray) pass to Collier at the end of the first half. Timmy adjusted and took it deep.” Moshannon Valley received the opening kick, but the B-A defense forced a fumble and Adam Kovac recovered for Bellwood-Antis at the MV-31. — Zach McCaulley picked up five on the first play before Jason Miller bulled for 10 more to move the sticks for a first down just inside the Knights-10. McCaulley got the call and went through a huge hole over the left side to score untouched. Tyler Geis kicked the PAT and Bellwood-Antis led 7-0 with 9:36 to play in the opening quarter. — Mo Valley got a nine-yard scamper from quarterback Tyler Neff for a first down on their next series, but two plays later, Tim Collier intercepted a Neff pass. — McCaulley, who led all runners with 113 yards on 18 rushes, carried twice for 20 yards, Miller twice for seven, and Nick DeGol once for eight yards. But the Black Knight defense stopped Bellwood-Antis at the MV-9 when Collier got three yards on a fourth-and-four. — Bellwood-Antis would march to the MV-20 on their next series, a march that got a jump-start when Gray connected with Collier for 37 yards on the first call. — Moshannon Valley responded by driving 80 yards to tie the game. Brock Love gave the Knights a first down, racing for a 12-yard pickup, then Neff connected on a short pass to Tom Rowley, and the returning All-ICC receiver got away and turned it into a 39-yard touchdown down the left sideline. Mo Valley’s 6-foot-2, 270-pound two-way tackle Jason Dudurich’s extra point kick tied the game with 7:12 to play in the second quarter. — “As a team, we believed if we could stick with them early on and build some confidence, that we would stay with them,” said Moshannon Valley coach Murray Fetzer. “We made some early turnovers, built ourselves a hole, but we persevered, came back through and made some plays. The turnovers evened out. They made a big fourth down play, but I give that quarterback and receiver credit. He found a way to get open, we were in man-to-man, but that’s football.” — B-A senior return man Randy Pfahler gave the Blue Devils good field position, with a 37-yard return of the kick following the Knights’ score. With the ball at the MV-48, McCaulley scooted for 16 on the opening play of the drive. Gray picked up five and McCaulley ran twice for eight yards and a first down, but B-A was faced with a fourth and 25 following a five-yard penalty and a sack of Gray by the Moshannon defense. On the play, the B-A offensive line gave Gray time and Collier got behind the secondary. Adjusting on the pass that was short, Collier grabbed the ball and ran to the MV-2. McCaulley scored the two-yard TD on the next play. The kick was wide right, but Bellwood-Antis had a 13-7 lead with 2:23 to play in the first half. — “(On defense) we had kids that were trying,” said Hayes. “But we were like playing on ice, really concerned about the big play, especially when they got one. We knew another one was just a play away. Those guys were playing a little tentative.” — Neff, who threw just six passes in the first half, let fly with 16 over the final two quarters, including seven of eight plays in the final drive. Neff completed 15 of 22 for 174 yards, but the Blue Devil defense bent but never broke in the second half. — Moshannon Valley drove to the BA-11, 25 and 22 on their final three series, but Bellwood-Antis turned away all three threats, including the next-to-last play of the game, when Geis clobbered Neff forcing an incompletion. — “I couldn’t be prouder of our kids. I thought our kids played hard and gave a valiant effort. That’s what we wanted. In life, you’re going to fight, fight, fight. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But if you give the effort every time, more likely, you are going to win more than you lose. These kids learned a great lesson tonight. Never give up, never give up. It won’t always go your way, but you will win more than you lose,” said Fetzer. “We support John Hayes. Hopefully he and Bellwood-Antis will do well next week. We want to see them get out and make a great showing and hopefully get a victory over Bishop McCort.” — Gray took a kneel-down to run the clock out to end the game, sending Bellwood-Antis to the semifinals next week against the top seed Crimson Crushers. — “You have to give Mo Valley a lot of credit. They didn’t back down. Up to the next to the last play of the game, they gave 110 per cent After we scored right away and got the ball right back. They could have folded their tents. — “We made some good plays, but were very inconsistent and hurt ourselves a lot in the process.”
BLUE DEVIL NOTES: Zach McCaulley has 1,179 yards and 21 TDs on 178 carries, and is ninth on the TD list for one season… Tim Collier has 17 catches for 462 yards fifth on the B-A list for receiving yards and his 7 TD catches are tied for second… Nate Gray joins Chuck Benton as the only B-A passers with two 1,000-yard seasons, and now has 51 of 99 completions in ’08 for 1,040 yards. Gray passes Benton to move into second place with 24 career TD passes… B-A will play Bishop McCort at the Point Stadium in Johnstown on Friday, November 14th.