Southern Columbia shuts out Bellwood-Antis in Eastern Final
GAME FOURTEEN — PIAA SEMIFINAL Southern Columbia Tigers: 35 B-A Blue Devils: 0 Friday, December 8, 2006 • Kemp Memorial Field • Shamokin, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— Bellwood-Antis battled four-time defending state champ toe-to-toe for the first two quarters of their PIAA Eastern Final at Shamokin’s Kemp Memorial Stadium on Friday night. The Blue Devils trailed 14-0, but had the ball in the red zone twice with plenty of chances. The Blue Devils were unable to stay with Southern in the second half however, falling 35-0.
— After the Tigers took the opening kick and slowly but surely drove down the field to score, with Henry Hynoski ramming the ball in for the one-yard TD, Brandon Humphreys blocked the PAT kick to keep the B-A deficit at 6-0.
— Bellwood-Antis immediately came right down the field, highlighted by a 30-yard scamper down the left sideline by Devon Clapper. Josh Kleinfelter added 18 yards on two carries as the Blue Devils reached the SC-10. Southern rose up to slam Bellwood-Antis for a five-yard loss on a quarterback sack and then blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt by Evan Celmo. Nick Hartranft blocked the kick and an alert Zeke Conrad picked up the ball and returned it back to the SC-45. From there it took Hynoski just one play to motor first over and then away from everybody for a 55-yard score. Hynoski moved past Tyrone’s Jess Jones on the PA All-time rushing list with 7,033 with 115 touchdowns to show for it. The 6-foot-2, 240 pound Hynoski then waltzed in for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 first quarter lead for the defending state Class-A champs. Bellwood-Antis again moved the ball on the following series, driving from their own-31 to the Southern Columbia-14, before losing the ball on downs when the Tiger defense stiffened again. A 17-yard pass from Evan Hughes to Brandon Pruznak and a pair of tough runs of six and eight yards to pick up first downs by Kleinfelter were the keys.
— A series later Hughes and Clapper connected for 36 yards on a pass play, but the Blue Devils stalled at the SC-25 after once again moving the football.
— The second half told a different story, however. An 18-yard scamper by Justin Manning came up just short on a crucial fourth down play, and Klenfelter got loose late in the fourth quarter for a 27-yard jaunt. On the Blue Devils other 24 second-half plays they gained just a net nine yards.
— Kleinfelter rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries to finish his senior season with 2,285 yards and his career with 5,908 yards and 79 touchdowns.
— “Offensively, you know pretty much what they are going to do,” explained Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “It’s just a matter of being strong enough to stand up to it. It was their defense that was my main concern. They’re a good football team that is well-coached. We played well, but not well enough to hurt them.”
— Humphreys blocked Hynoski’s third-quarter punt, Southern Columbia’s only punt of the game, to get Bellwood-Antis the ball at the SC-20. But four plays later, the ball was still at the 20 with the Tigers taking over.
— Hynoski tallied his third score of the game in the third quarter before finishing his night with 208 yards on 23 carries. Dave Adams and Andrew Wimble scored short TDs to wrap up the win. With Adams score at the 11:46 mark of the final quarter, the mercy-rule was invoked and the clock continued to run from that point.
— Bellwood-Antis was able to move the ball against a Southern Columbia defense that had been holding opponents to a mere 46 yards rushing, getting into the Red Zone three times during the game and reaching the SC-24 on another occasion, but was unable to penetrate the Tiger goal line.
— “We needed a spark,” said Hayes in explaining a questionable fake out in the third quarter that went nowhere. “Something like that when it succeeds gets the guys excited. Last week we were able to generate that. Tonight we couldn’t get it going.”
— Devon Clapper (nine unassisted tackles) and Humphreys (a blocked punt) led a spirited effort on defense for the Blue Devils, who held Southern Columbia to their lowest point total of the season. The Tigers scored a low of 35 points in three other games as well. Clapper also returned two kickoffs for a total of 51 yards.
— Southern Columbia had a 14-play drive in the second quarter, but was held short of the goal line by the B-A defense. The Tigers will try for their fifth straight PIAA championship next week in Hershey. No team has won five PIAA titles.