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Golden Eagles dominate Bellwood-Antis in Backyard Brawl

GAME ONE Tyrone Golden Eagles: 27 B-A Blue Devils: 6 Friday, August 30, 2008 • Gray Memorial Field • Tyrone, Pennsylvania

By Kerry Naylor | Daily Herald Sports Writer

— The Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils might be waking up this morning scratching their heads and wondering what happened last night against the Tyrone Golden Eagles in the annual Backyard Brawl. — For that matter, they may be wondering what has happened over the last three seasons. — Each time, B-A went into the season-opener with a team it felt was at least as good, if not better, than Tyrone. And all the Devils have to show for it is a single touchdown and three losses, bringing their losing streak against Tyrone to six games and counting. — B-A coach John Hayes had an answer after his team lost to Tyrone last night 27-6. It had a lot to do with momentum. — “That was at the very top of the list in our talks leading up to this game,” Hayes said. “The past two years, we’ve felt we staked them to leads early. They had to make the plays, but we gave them leads and they were able to sit on them. Momentum can be so fragile. Tyrone’s players play with a lot of confidence. We’re trying to get it, but sometimes it’s a struggle.” — Tyrone won the battle of momentum early last night, and won just about every other battle as well. The Eagles out-gained B-A on the ground 237-114, behind the bruising combination of Mark Mingle and Larry Glace. They held a significant edge in passing, as well 148-10. — And every time Tyrone needed a big play, somebody found a way to get it done. — Glace’s game-breaking touchdown catch-and-run at the end of the first quarter may have been the best example. — With the Golden Eagles already up 14-0, they faced second-and-8 from their own 43. Reihart dropped back for a screen to Glace that the Blue Devils appeared the have sniffed out. But Glace made the catch between two defenders, and then ripped free from the grasp of Tyler Geis and was on his way to a 57-yard touchdown. — Johnny Shaffer missed the extra-point, but that made it 20-0 with just 38 seconds left in the opening period. — Glace also tacked on 58 yards on 11 rushing attempts. Not bad for a kid who last season played the Backyard Brawl on the offensive line. — “We had him ranked as our No. 3 offensive lineman, but we needed speed, and he’s the fastest kid on the team,” said Tyrone coach John Franco. “We had to find a way to get the ball to our fastest player, so we moved him.” — Glace’s first varsity touchdown wasnÕt Tyrone’s only momentum-changing play. Instead, it was one of several in the first quarter alone that helped to swing the tide in favor of the Golden Eagles. — After Tyrone scored on its first possession, B-A senior Randy Pfahler returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Tyrone 45, but was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play for tossing the ball in celebration. It was a borderline call, but one that put a damper on a big return, and moved the Devils back 15 yards to their own 40. — On B-A’s first play after the penalty, Nate Gray was picked off by Eric Desch, who returned the ball 26 yards to the Blue Devils’ 29. A personal foul for a hit out of bounds put the ball at the 15. — Three plays later, Reihart scrambled free of the rush of Jarred Minori, cut back against the grain and scampered 10 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0. — “The penalty wasn’t flagrant, but it was foolish,” said Hayes of the unsportsmanlike call. “And it’s a downer after a big play, especially when you’re coming from behind.” — Tyrone jumped to an early 7-0 by forcing B-A to go three-plays-and-out on its first possession, and then moving the ball 67 yards on six plays for the opening score. Along the way, the Eagles converted on third-and-six when Reihart connected with Desch for 17 yards to the B-A 36. — On the next play, Reihart hit Glace for a 19-yard gain, and two plays later Mingle fought his way in from six yards out, starting out moving to his left, before cutting back right and breaking a tackle into the end zone. — “Our offensive line did a good job, and that was the key to the game,” said Franco. “We have a good set of linemen, and that can set the tone for the game. Our backs ran very hard.” — Tyrone put a choke-hold on its grip on momentum with its first drive of the second half, taking possession at its own 19 and grinding out a 12-play, 81-yard drive that consumed 5:34. Junior Shane Walker led the drive at quarterback, after replacing Reihart late in the first half. Reihart was battling cramps. — Mingle carried most of the load, toting the ball seven times for 61 yards, including runs of 9, 29 and 12 yards. He scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard plunge, making it 27-0, and finished with 160 yards on 25 carries. — While the drive lacked the immediate impact of DeschÕs interception or Glace’s long touchdown reception, it kept Gray and B-A’s offense off the field, and for Franco, that may have been more important. — “We came out of the locker room and said, ÔWe can’t go three-and-out.Õ We just wanted to get first downs,” said Franco. “We knew they could (come back). Their offensive line is one of the best we’ll see, and Gray is a game-breaker. We had to keep him off the field because he’s just too good.” — “One of the worst things you can do is to come out after halftime and have a team drive the ball down your throat,” said Hayes. “They beat us up front handily, and that set the tone for the second half. Now, we’re scrambling.” — The Blue Devils’ got on the board late in the game, after Mark McCracken recovered a fumble at the Tyrone 28 with the Eagles’ running out the clock. Travis Taylor carried three times for 22 yards, and Nate Plummer hit Buddy Shaw for a three-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left. — “We’re still sloppy in a lot of areas,” said Franco, whose team was penalized nine times for 82 yards and lost two fumbles. “But that was a good football team we beat. We got some breaks, and made some big plays early on.”

GRID TIDBITS: Trey Mock also had a fumble recovery for B-A… Matt Murray had an interception for the Eagles ... Tyrone sacked B-A quarterbacks three times, and stopped eight plays in the Blue Devils’ backfield… Gray finished the game 3-for-13 for 7 yards and two interceptions… Reihart was 5-for-6 for 141 yards and a touchdown… Murray, Jeremy Barlett and Dustin Weaver each had two tackles for loss… Zach McCaulley led the Devils with 31 yards on four carries… Tyrone travels to Huntingdon next Friday, while B-A hosts Everett.

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