Huge start, defense lead Blue Devils over BEA in battle of turnovers
GAME THREE B-A Blue Devils: 27 BEA Bald Eagles: 6 Friday, September 15, 2006 • Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— “A good start was really important. We knew that we needed to get some excitement in our players,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “Our practices this week were really kind of sluggish and lethargic. It has been a real concern. There was nothing to help that situation more than a big play.”
— His Blue Devils delivered exactly what coach Hayes was calling for, scoring a pair of touchdowns early and then cruising to a 27-6 victory over Bald Eagle Area, in a turnover-filled contest at Bellwood Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
— Bald Eagle Area completed fewer passes to their own team (3), than they did to Bellwood-Antis, who intercepted four. Bellwood-Antis completed the same number of passes to Bald Eagle Area (three interceptions) as they did to their own team (three receptions)
— Bald Eagle Area won the toss and deferred to the second half, which proved to be the absolute worst call they could have made. The Bald Eagles kicked off to Bellwood-Antis to start the ballgame. Devon Clapper fielded the kick at his own 11, turned on the burners and scampered 34 yards to the BA-45: BIG PLAY No. 1. Then on the first play from scrimmage after a BEA personal foul on the kickoff was assessed to move the ball 15 yards more all the way to the BEA-40, Josh Kleinfelter went over the left side and raced 36 yards to the BEA-4: BIG PLAY No. 2. Jon Davila smashed the final four yards for the touchdown. Evan Celmo booted the PAT for a 7-0 Bellwood-Antis lead with just 27 seconds run off the first-quarter clock.
— On the first series from scrimmage for Bald Eagle Area at their own 18, Davila tackled Gary Sowash for no gain and Anthony Jenkins stopped Brian Kochik for just a four-yard gain, forcing BEA to go to the air. Bruno DeGol intercepted a Ryan MacNamara pass and returned the pick 19 yards to the BEA-11: BIG PLAY No. 3.
— Kleinfelter complemented the B-A defensive effort by scooting 11 yards for the score on the only play needed, and with 9:58 to play in the opening quarter, Hayes had the big start he wanted and more.
— Bald Eagle Area attempted to get back in the game, when Gary Clark returned the kick following the second score, 61 yards to the BA-32. Jenkins tackled Kochik after a two-yard gain and Blaze Winterstein limited Justin Koleno to a one-yard gain. BEA got a reprieve when Kochik completed a tailback pass to Sowash for nine yards and a first down at the BA-20, but Winterstein threw MacNamara for a 12-yard loss: BIG PLAY No. 4. Two plays later, Kleinfelter intercepted a pass to halt the threat.
— Kleinfelter made one more big play later in the half when the Blue Devils were facing a third down and 14, after stopping Bald Eagle at the BA-19 on downs. Davila bulled through the line and rambled 19 yards on the first play of the drive, but the BEA defense stalled B-A on two straight plays. With the ball on the BA-34, Kleinfelter took a tailback draw from senior quarterback Evan Hughes, broke several tackles behind and around the line of scrimmage and then motored 66 yards for his second TD of the game, avoiding a final BEA defender on the right sideline who failed to push Josh out of bounds.
— “Our defense really picked us up in the first part of the game, getting us the ball in good field position,” said Hayes. “They (BEA) gambled a lot defensively. They sent a lot of blitzes, a lot of linebackers. I think tonight was feast or famine. We either had a big play or a busted play. I was really happy with a lot of the good things we did, but certainly there is a lot of room for work in the blocking. We made some bad plays, gave them some turnovers. Give Bald Eagle Area credit, they didn’t quit and kept coming hard. We need to be better than we were in the second half. The second half was something we need to improve on.”
— A Hughes-to-Devon Clapper pass play was good for 20 yards late in the second quarter to key a march to the BEA-10, where B-A stalled. Evan Celmo, who began the night with 100 career kicking points, booted a 27-yard field goal to give the Blue Devils a 24-0 advantage with 49 seconds left in the half.
— Then in the third quarter, Kleinfelter snagged the his teamÕs fourth interception of the night and returned it 33 yards to the BEA-16. Bellwood-Antis was able to advance the ball just one yard in three plays, when Celmo lined a 32-yard field goal through the uprights to give the Blue Devils a 27-0 lead.
— Bald Eagle Area took advantage of a big Blue Devil mistake to score their only TD of the night. After it seemed that Bellwood-Antis had BEA stopped and forced to punt, a roughing the passer penalty gave the Bald Eagles an automatic first down. BEA took leveraged the momentum and drove 66 yards following the penalty walkoff to notch their only score of the evening. Kochik, who rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries, bulled the final three yards for the TD.
BLUE DEVIL NOTES: Kleinfelter rushed 19 times for 173 yards to move past the 4,000-yard career rushing mark… Each team had four turnovers: Bald Eagle Area had four passes intercepted, while Bellwood-Antis gave up three interceptions and one fumble… Celmo needs seven PATs to pass Chris Miller’s career/school-best 88… Celmo’s two field goals give him a school-record nine career field goals. Celmo had been tied with Dan Graham with seven… Bellwood-Antis travels to Mount Union next Friday for a contest against the Trojans.