FLINTON - Bellwood-Antis High School football coach John Hayes knew his Blue Devils needed to make some big plays to beat Inter-County Conference North rival Glendale, and senior Buddy Shaw provided a huge one early.
When no one downed a Glendale punt that was rolling dead near midfield in the opening minutes of Friday night's game at a windy Dr. Roy F. Baker Field, Shaw alertly picked up the ball in front of an opposing player and scooted 42 yards to the Viking 18.
"It was basically instinct, really,'' Shaw said. "I just saw open field, and the guy really wasn't paying attention. So, I tried to make something happen, and it ended up working out for the best.''
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Bellwood-Antis’ Luke Evans wraps up Glendale’s Luke Westover on Friday night.
Shaw's heady, risky play set up a Luke Evans touchdown pass to Tyler Campbell that allowed Bellwood to draw first blood. The Blue Devils stayed one step ahead of Glendale and its fast-break offense before pulling away at the end to move to 6-1 overall with a 41-14 win.
"The kids played a pretty big game,'' Hayes said. "We got that big punt return right away. Kids got to dare to be great. I thought the play was over. The next thing I know, he's running down there in front of me. I'm really happy. I thought we played really well.''
Bellwood won its sixth straight and improved to 4-0 in the division. This, though, was the first Blue Devil win not to come by the 35-point rule; Bellwood led by just six late in the second quarter and 14 at halftime, after which Travis Taylor tacked on two touchdown runs to set the final.
"We knew we were going to face a good team,'' Shaw said. "They've been passing the ball a lot, and we knew we had to change some things up.''
Glendale quarterback Tyler Jenny, in fact, had more passing yards over the first two quarters (143) than did Bellwood total (135). The difference was in plays like Shaw's punt return, his 44-yard punt that helped put the Devils in business at the Glendale 40 and led to an Evans-to-Jared Minori 18-yard TD pass later in the first quarter and Casey Gray's 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown seconds after Jenny ran in from 3 yards out to pull Glendale to within seven.
"Special teams plays like that kill you,'' Glendale coach Michael Keith said after the Vikings slipped to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the ICC North. "We were right there. We moved the ball on them. We just had some [dropped passes] at some key times, some stupid penalties at key times and our pass protection wasn't what we needed it to be.''
Jenny threw for 189 yards on 19-of-45 passing and ran for both Viking touchdowns. However, he was sacked four times and penalized for intentional grounding at the Bellwood 15 in the final two minutes of the first half with Glendale threatening to cut the score to 28-21. Jenny was knocked out of the game later on the possession, and the Vikings came up empty.
Despite having its defense on the field most of the first half against Glendale's no-huddle offense, Bellwood found a way to put pressure on Jenny when it had to. Minori had a pair of sacks.
"I just had some good opportunities to get past [the linemen], use my hands and got to Jenny,'' Minori said. "We were sucking wind the whole time.''
Bellwood's passing game did well, too. Evans completed 4-of-6 attempts for 85 yards, including the two touchdowns and a 36-yarder to Derek Denny that set up a short Shaw scoring run.
The Devils negated Glendale's wind advantage in the third quarter with its one long drive of the game, eating 7 minutes, 50 seconds off the clock while going 75 yards on 13 plays. Evans turned in the crucial play by scrambling for 24 yards on second-and-20, and Taylor, who had 90 of his 145 yards rushing in the second half, covered the final 8.
"Guys made some big plays when they had to,'' Hayes said. "Overall, I can't be more pleased.''
Game notes: Glendale was celebrating senior night. ... Bellwood was without starters Danny Noye and Tyler Beech because of injury. Beech, the Devils' fullback and one of the better linebackers around, may be back in time for the playoffs. ... Glendale's Lucas Westover surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for his career on a 15-yard catch in the second quarter. ... Bellwood hosts undefeated Juniata Valley next Friday, while Glendale travels to Claysburg-Kimmel.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Bellwood-Antis14 14 6 7 - 41
Glendale 0 14 0 0 - 14
BA-Campbell 14 pass from Evans (Shaw kick), 8:50.
BA-Minori 18 pass from Evans (Shaw kick), 1:25.
G-Jenny 3 run (Gedman kick), 9:56.
BA-Gray 83 kickoff return (kick failed), 9:39.
G-Jenny 4 run (Gedman kick), 6:47.
BA-Shaw 3 run (Conversion), 3:33.
BA-Taylor 8 run (pass failed), 4:10.
BA-Taylor 1 run (Shaw kick), 4:31.
RUSHING: Bellwood-Antis-Taylor 25-145, Evans 6-28, Campbell 5-26, Shaw 4-13, Gray 4-4, TEAM 1-(-2). Glendale-Braniff 10-66, Bickford 3-10, Sutton 3-8, Jenny 11-(-13).
PASSING: Bellwood-Antis-Evans 4-6-0-85. Glendale-Jenny 19-45-2-189, Witherow 1-1-0-9.
RECEIVING: Bellwood-Antis-Minori2-35, Denny 1-36, Campbell 1-14. Glendale-Westover 7-85, Stackhouse 6-75, Cree 3-43, Ferrell 3-42, Braniff 1-(-7).
INTERCEPTIONS: Bellwood-Antis-Davensizer, Taylor. Glendale-none.