GAME ONE Tyrone Golden Eagles: 31 B-A Blue Devils: 19 Friday, September 2, 2005 • Bellwood-Antis Memorial Field • Bellwood, Pennsylvania
By Bob Miller | Daily Herald Sports Editor
— It was a beautiful night to watch a football game at Bellwood Memorial Stadium on Friday evening. The nearly 4,000 fans who were there saw the Tyrone Golden Eagles play a beautiful game. Oh, there were mistakes by both teams and Tyrone coach John Franco would never admit to it being a game where he was satisfied with his team’s performance, but the fans who were witnessed a birth of sorts in the Eagles’ 31-19 triumph over Bellwood-Antis.
— Tyrone had an abundance of skill people back in senior quarterback Leonard Wilson, senior tailback Brit Mingle, wide receiver Trey Brockett and others, but the major question was the rebuilt offensive and defensive lines.
— That question has been answered after the effort given on Friday. Robert Emigh, James Updike, Thad Graham, Buddy Stotler, Tyler Hoover and the rest dominated a Blue Devil squad that had the majority of starters returning, controlled the game to such an extent that B-A had exactly four plays in Tyrone territory until the Blue Devils finally took advantage of an Eagle fumble to get on the scoreboard with just 17 seconds to play in the third quarter.
— “There was not just one thing that stood out tonight,” said coach Franco. “We did a good job in three areas. There is always so much emotion in this game. We really wanted to stay with them in the first quarter and we got some breaks.”
— Tyrone drove 50 yards the first time they got the ball, only to have a 32-yard field goal attempt go wide right. With the ball at the BA-5, the Bellwood-Antis defense stopped Mingle for a two-yard loss and then Tony DelGrosso sacked Wilson for an eight-yard loss back to the 15 to force the field goal try.
— Bellwood-Antis took the ball and marched out to the Tyrone 49, where it appeared they had a first down on a third-and-three play. The sticks never moved for a first down, however, due to offensive holding, Emigh sacked Kyle Drost and on fourth down, the snap from center went over punter Dan Kovac’s head resulting in the Eagles getting the ball at the BA-2.
— It took Mingle just one play to put the ball in the end zone to give the Eagles a 6-0 lead with 0:03 left in the opening quarter.
— The Tyrone defense took the ball away on the Blue Devils next series when big defensive lineman Tyler Hoover stepped in front of a Drost pass and lumbered 21 yards with the interception to the BA-19. Two holding penalties hurt Tyrone and forced the eagles to take three points on a 23-yard field goal by Stotler to increase the margin to 9-0.
— The Blue Devils’ Jon Davila returned a short kick 19 yards to the his own 38, but Bellwood-Antis lost the ball on downs when the Tyrone defense stopped B-A short on a fourth-and-one play.
— Wilson, who completed nine of 14 passes for 143 yards and a TD with no interceptions, started the next series by connecting with Tyler Gillmen out of the backfield for 16 yards and the rest of the story was all Brit Mingle, who carried seven straight times, including the one-yard TD for a 15-0 advantage at the half. Mingle was the leading ball carrier for the second straight year with 74 yards on 20 carries, with two scores.
— “We thought that the ‘D’ would be strong early,” said Franco. “We felt it would have to carry us until the offensive line matures.”
— The Tyrone offense received the second half kick and put on a clinic about ball control taking up the first six and a half minutes, driving 64 yards and putting an emphasis on the display with another touchdown. Bellwood-Antis appeared to have the Eagles stopped at the T-36, forcing another Stotler field goal attempt. The Blue Devils were flagged for roughing the kicker however, giving Tyrone life. Wilson capped the long time-consuming drive with a three-yard TD pass to sophomore Johnny Franco. Stotler’s PAT kick upped the Tyrone advantage to 22-0.
— The Eagles’ biggest fault was a problem of Wilson holding onto the snap from center. Four times Tyrone fumbled and with the third quarter winding down, Bellwood-Antis defensive lineman Tyler Narehood came up with one of those miscues at the T-19. Josh Kleinfelter ripped nine yards on the first play and then scored on a third-and-goal from the four to put Bellwood-Antis on the scoreboard. Evan Celmo followed with the PAT boot to cut the score to 22-7.
— The Tyrone defense made sure that didn’t become a spark by stopping Bellwood-Antis on consecutive series, forcing two straight quarterback sacks, the second by Beau Latchford, when he nailed Drost in the endzone for a safety and two more Tyrone points.
— Tyrone took the free kick near midfield and on the second call from scrimmage, Wilson, who ran for 69 yards on 14 carries, went up the middle, broke loose and raced 48 yards for the score. Stotler added the extra point kick to push the Tyrone lead back to 31-7 with 3:31 to play in the game.
— “They made the plays and we didn’t,” explained B-A coach John Hayes. “The quarterback and the line play made the difference out there tonight. Wilson produced what you want out of a three-year starter. He’s a great athlete, he proved it both throwing and running. He is dangerous. He was able to stretch out our defense and his receivers were able to get open and we couldn’t get any pressure on him.”
— Bellwood-Antis was able to score two more times, but the end score really didn’t suggest the actual domination of the Tyrone line throughout the contest.
— Drost connected with Kleinfelter out of the backfield for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 2:43 left and then after Devon Clapper returned a punt 67 yards, Drost found Dan Kovac for a six-yard score to set the final score. Drost completed six of 16 passes for 94 yards and two TDs with a pair of interceptions.
— “We made a lot of mistakes, turnover mistakes, costly mistakes. That was one side of it, but Tyrone was a really good team that took advantage of it. That was the key to success. We hurt ourselves and we got behind. We would make a good play, get a nice gain, or make a good play on defense and then somehow botch it up. We played pretty poorly as far as the mistakes, and I know we’re a better football team than that. Tyrone really played well and took advantage of everything that we did wrong. They were strong up front. They did a pretty good job of controlling both the offense and defense lines.”