Special teams, Dan Kovac play big part in Hayes’ 200th career victory
GAME FOUR B-A Blue Devils: 55 Mount Union Trojans: 14 Friday, September 23, 2005 • Bellwood-Antis Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— The Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils didn’t wait long before making sure one thing happened and one didnÕt. In smashing Mount Union 55-14, the Blue Devils scored four times in the opening quarter to put the game away for all intents and purposes.
— Many of the players were on the team last year, when Bellwood-Antis took an 0-3 Mount Union squad far too lightly and barely escaped with a 17-14 win by scoring 10 fourth-quarter points and taking advantage of a defense than bent, but wouldn’t break.
— This time the players took no prisoners and gave no quarter.
— Devon Clapper began the first-quarter blitz by gathering in the opening kickoff at his own 14-yard line, running up the left side, picking up blockers, slanting back towards the middle and racing 86 yards for a touchdown. Evan Celmo booted the first of seven extra points and the Blue Devils were on the board at the 11:48 mark.
— The Blue Devil defense, which kept Mount Union out of the end zone while they in the game forced a punt. First Troy Brunner, then Anthony Jenkins and finally Tony DelGrosso moved the Trojans back a total five yards on three plays.
— Dan Kovac, who had quite a night, fielded the punt at the MU-47 ran to his right and evaded everybody for the 47-yard TD on the punt return.
— Mount Union quarterback Bill Shives went to the air on the first call of the next series and Justin Manning intercepted it.
— B-A went nowhere on their first two plays from scrimmage, before Evan Hughes found Kovac all alone behind the Mount Union secondary to complete a 45-yard touchdown pass.
— The Trojans went to the air again a series later and Kovac picked it off near the right sideline, reversed his field to the left side and raced 47 yards for his third TD, scored in three different ways in a space of a little over five minutes.
— “Dan Kovac is a very talented football player,” said Bellwood-Antis coach John Hayes. “We’re blessed, we have a number of kids there. We work hard on the punt returns and kick returns. He got the opportunity. The ball was there, he made a great play on that interception and then to bring it all the way back the other way. He’s just a real good knowledgeable football player. That’s what we want form him and he did his thing tonight. Those are great momentum makers and momentum breakers. It set the tone early. A team will hope to stop you and do something themselves and then all of a sudden they’re down a score.”
— While the Blue Devils were putting a lot of points on the board, they didn’t get much of a chance from scrimmage during the first 12 minutes. One pass play and five running plays was all B-A ran in the first quarter, yet they led 28-0.
— “We got off to a great start, our skill kids just made some big plays,” explained coach Hayes. “We got on the board and when you play with a lead like that, it makes it pretty easy offensively. Our defense really played super again, pretty much shutting them down when we had to.”
— The Blue Devil offense was able to strike a little better balance in the second quarter. Josh Kleinfelter, who rushed 13 times for 128 yards scored on a pair of three-yard blasts and sophomore Brandon Eger scored on a four-yard run as Bellwood-Antis scored three more times to take a 48-0 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
— The Blue Devils started the first of the trio of scoring marches at the MU-47 and tried to stop themselves with a pair of penalties, but Kleinfelter wasn’t to be denied. After Jon Davila picked up six yards on the first call, Kleinfelter raced for 10 yards on the next play and 21 more two plays later before plunging the final three yards for the TD.
— A series later, Kleinfelter ripped nine yards on the opening play and following a seven-yard blast by Davila, picked up a dozen yards to the three and then scored the six-pointer on the following play.
— Completing the scoring in the first half, Devon Clapper went for 13 to move the sticks for a first down, Eger picked up four, Davila rumbled for 14 and a first down inside the five before Eger scored the four-yard TD.
— After all 10 of the series by both teams in the first half started on the Mount Union side of the field, Bellwood-Antis began their first possession of the third quarter on their own 37. Kleinfelter raced for 20 yards to the MU-43 on the first play and three more on the next play. After a holding penalty moved the ball back to midfield, Kleinfelter got loose down the left side for a 35-yard jaunt inside the MU-10. Two more carries by Kleinfelter ,including a five-yard TD gave Bellwood-Antis a 55-0 lead and was the end of the night for the starters with 4:53 left in the third quarter.
— Mount Union scored a pair of meaningless touchdowns in the fourth quarter on Nick McConaughey runs of six and seven yards to complete the scoring.
— The one thing the players were bent on making sure happened was their head coach John Hayes’ 200th career win.
— “I have a life of just wonderful memories, certain kids doing this, doing that, the relationship with the coaches. I am very blessed to have been here and have the opportunity to have worked with these kids in this school district. The 200 wins is a sign you have been around a long time, but I have been blessed to have good kids and coaches and without them, it certainly wouldn’t have been possible.”
— Following the game, Coach Hayes was presented with a plaque and solid, wooden football that had all of the current Blue Devil players’ signatures enscribed onto it.
— During the halftime ceremonies, Jamie Smith was crowned the 2005 Homecoming queen by the 2004 Homecoming queen, Lindsay Caparusio.