Bellwood-Antis' dominance of the Inter-County Conference is well-documented.
Just don't remind Blue Devils coach John Hayes.
"Don't say that," Hayes said. "That's a jinx."
Despite Hayes' superstitious nature, it's been five years and 37 games since Bellwood has lost a game within the ICC. It's been nine years and 52 games since the Devils have been beaten by a team currently in the conference.
And most of those wins haven't been that close.
The Blue Devils will attempt to run that string to 53 while keeping their 2012 record perfect against a team that has stood as one of the obstacles to keeping the streak alive over the years, Juniata Valley, at home on Friday night at 7.
Game: Juniata Valley Green Hornets (3-0) vs. Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils (3-0)
Where: Memorial Stadium, Bellwood
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
The coaches: Juniata Valley - Mike Smith (58-27, ninth year); Bellwood-Antis - John Hayes (269-88-2, 33rd year)
Series record: Bellwood-Antis, 22-9
Last meeting: Bellwood-Antis, 54-6 (Oct. 21, 2011)
The Green Hornets also are 3-0.
"They do a really good job with the talent that they have. They've been blessed that they've been able to find kids that fit their style very well," Hayes said of the Hornets. "They do what they do very well. That's the reality.
"'Respect' is probably the word you are looking for."
The Blue Devils are coming off a 54-20 win at West Branch, but the score doesn't nearly tell the story of that contest. For the second year in a row, the Warriors gave Bellwood problems, jumping out to a 20-14 lead after a quarter - the Devils only had given up 29 points in its previous two wins against Tyrone and Moshannon Valley.
The Devils put the game out of reach by outscoring the Warriors 26-0 in the second half and wound up with 503 rushing yards, including 148 from Haden DeGennaro and 121 from Casey Gray. Seth Worthing threw for two more touchdowns to his twin brother, Cameron.
"We were able to respond. In the second half, we made a few adjustments and were able to control the half pretty much," Hayes said. "We found out that we have some things that we obviously need to work on. That's the focus of this week."
Hayes hopes the slow start at West Branch didn't have anything to do with overlooking the Warriors with Juniata Valley on the horizon.
"We guard against it, and we talk about it all the time that you've got to respect everybody and you've got to play everyone on the field, you can't look at scores. That's a big challenge," Hayes said.
Juniata Valley itself received a surprising test last week, and an even closer call. The Green Hornets found themselves down by 17 points at Claysburg-Kimmel in the second half before scoring three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a 51-44 victory.
"I kind of view it as a learning experience. I think it's good for our kids to know they can battle back," Valley coach Mike Smith said. "It's important for our kids to know not to quit, no matter what the score is. Still, we saw a lot of things both good and bad on film. I don't think we played very well with much intensity in the first half. You really have to give Claysburg a lot of credit. They played well. I hope our kids weren't looking ahead."
With a veteran offensive line leading the way, the Hornet offense has been very sharp to start the season. Returning halfback Brett Grissinger has three 100-yard rushing games, while quarterback Caleb Taylor has 294 yards passing and another 168 on the ground. However, Jesse Claar has been a real revelation at fullback, piling up 351 rushing yards and six touchdowns over the last two weeks.
"Probably the one thing that we were missing was another running back or that fullback threat that we've had for years. To run our offense, you really need two or three running backs that are a threat," Smith said. "He's always had really good natural ability, but I think Jesse just was not confident going in. His confidence has been building as the weeks have progressed."
Smith's biggest concern, especially after allowing 44 points last game, is on the defensive side of the ball.
"Our defense needs to play well. Bellwood has such big play-makers. They can break a big play at any time. If you look the last couple of weeks, they've had several long passes and long runs," Smith said. "Offensively, we have to put some drives together to try to keep their offense off the field."
The teams are no longer in the same division, but the outcome will be important toward the District 6 Class A playoff standings - the teams enter this week's action ranked one and two.
"It looks like it's going to be one of those ballgames that's going to go four quarters, and mistakes, whoever makes them, are going to be an issue," Hayes said.