Kick returns highlight Senior Night for Bellwood-Antis
GAME NINE B-A Blue Devils: 55 Mount Union Trojans: 14 Friday, October 29, 2010 • Memorial Field • Bellwood , Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Two punt returns and two kickoff returns. How many times have you seen a football game at any level from youth to the NFL where one team has four touchdowns on kick returns? — If you go strictly from scrimmage on Friday night at Bellwood Memorial Stadium, the Blue Devils outscored Mount Union only 21-14, in what would seem to have been a close contest. — However, if you consider the 85-yard kickoff return by Travis Taylor, the 77-yard kickoff run back by Casey Gray, the 53-yard punt return by Buddy Shaw and the 67-yarder on a punt by Gray, all for touchdowns, you begin to see that Bellwood-Antis was never in jeopardy in a game that ended 55-14 for the Blue Devils’ eighth straight win. — “I don’t believe I have ever seen that many (kick returns for scores) in one game,” reported Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “Special teams are something that we take pride in. I don’t think we can expect that to happen all the time. Even if it doesn’t end in a touchdown, the goal is to get the best field position you can. — “Tonight they kick-blocked super. The guys caught the balls, picked it up, whatever it took and took off. I think it is something the unit has taken pride in right now. Obviously, we practice it pretty hard and tonight they did a pretty good job of it.” — Neither team did much in their first series from scrimmage. Bellwood-Antis quarterback Luke Evans had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Mount Union’s Kent Leonard. — The B-A defense forced a second straight punt from the Trojans and the Blue Devils began from the MU-43. Travis Taylor picked up two yards on the opening call before Tyler Campbell bulled for four more. From the MU-37, B-A senior quarterback Evans threaded the needle on a 37-yard pass play to Derek Denny (that was nearly knocked down) for the first touchdown of the contest. Buddy Shaw kicked the first of five PAT points. — Mount Union punted again one series later, and B-A ninth grader Casey Gray fielded the ball, found an opening and raced down the home sideline 67 yards for a TD. With just 25 ticks left on the first quarter clock Bellwood-Antis led 14-0 after Shaw’s PAT. — One series later, following Mount Union’s fourth punt in as many series, the Blue Devils drove 63 yards for the first of three scores in the second quarter for B-A, all by Taylor. — First, Taylor scampered 26 yards on the second play of the march, and later added the 14-yard TD. Evans connected with Denny for 14 yards and a big first down to keep the drive alive. Then a series later, the Blue Devils began at their own-5. After Taylor gained three, a penalty set the ball back to the BA-4 again. Taylor scooted for 28 and a play later added another big run of 34 yards. Two plays later he burst 24 for the TD on an option play. Evans ran the keeper for four yards, then tossed a lateral back to Taylor, who raced for the touchdown. — Mount Union got on the scoreboard when Kelvin Abrashoff hit Braxton Knable for a 12-yard TD pass, completing a 66-yard drive that featured a 15-yard scamper by Abrashoff, an eight yard completion to Knable and two penalties on the Blue Devils that moved the sticks twice for first downs totaling 28 yards. — That set the stage for the Blue Devils’ special teams. Taylor picked up the ball at his own 15 and outraced everybody down the sideline for 85 yards and his third TD of the second quarter. — Mount Union kicked to the Blue Devils to begin the second half, and Gray made it three special teams scores by scooting 77 yards for the TD. Shaw’s PAT gave B-A a 42-7 lead and set the Mercy Rule clock in operation for the remainder of the game beginning at the 11:47 mark of the third quarter. — It wouldnÕt be long before the Bellwood-Antis special teams would strike again! — Mount Union lost four yards in three plays and punted to just over midfield. Buddy Shaw picked his way 53 yards for the fourth TD by the Blue Devil special teams and a 48-7 advantage. — The visitors came back to score against the B-A reserves with just 2:02 to play in the fourth quarter. Kai House, who became the first opponent to rush for more than 74 yards, bulled one yard to cap the 69-yard Trojan drive. House, who gained 103 yards on 25 carries had 49 yards in the march. — With one more try, Bellwood-Antis third-string quarterback Seth Worthing got loose around the left side and raced 55 yards for a TD with just eight seconds left, and Sophomore classmate Tyler Campbell kicked the extra point. — Taylor, who needed just 10 yards to pass the 1,000-yard rushing mark, carried 10 times for 130 yards from scrimmage to bring his nine-game total to 1,120 yards and now has scored 17 TDs. — “Travis gives you 100 percent on every down that he is in there, whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams,” praised Coach Hayes. “He’s in there a lot, had a big run, had a kickoff return, defensively he made a lot of tackles. He’s a big asset, no question.” — Bellwood-Antis celebrated Senior Night, continuing to play excellent October football. The Blue Devils have been 15-0 over the past three Octobers and since 1997, B-A has recorded a mark of 56-7 during the month. — “Taylor did a super job tonight, Evans had the tip and interception but directed the offense well, threw the ball well on the deep pass, and the guys up front did a great job. Buddy Shaw had a couple nice returns. We had a lot of kids make contributions. The young guys took the ball down the field at the end. It was a good night, a lot of kids can feel good about their performance. It’s a good stepping stone going into the playoffs. There are some things we can certainly work on, but I hope tonight will be a positive push. The third season is now upon us.” — With the win, B-A (8-1) earns the No. 2 seed in District 6 Single-A and a bye through the first playoff round next week.